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Korea's Recent Trade Performance in Response to External Development
Author: Bark Taeho
Region: Asia
Theme: Economics
Location: Korea, South
Published February 4, 2022
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In this new article of KEI’s Korea’s Economy,  Dr. Bark Taeho (President of the Global Commerce Institute of Lee & Ko and Former Minister for Trade) notes that Korea has faced several challenges in the past few years. These include China’s response to the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system (THAAD) in Korea, U.S.-China trade disputes, U.S. restrictions on steel imports from Korea, amendment of the Korea-U.S. FTA, the Korea-Japan trade dispute, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He points out that issues in which Korea was directly involved, such as the THAAD conflict, the U.S. restrictions on steel imports, and the Korea-Japan dispute, impacted Korea’s trade. However, these impacts were limited to specific areas and diminished over time, with limited effect on Korea’s overall trade performance. Although Korea is not directly involved, Dr. Bark notes that the U.S.-China trade disputes affected Korea as well, since China and the U.S. are Korea’s first and second largest trading partners. While Korea’s exports to China were reduced, U.S.-China trade disputes did not seem to have a serious influence on Korea’s overall trade. Dr. Bark further argues, that like many other nations, Korea has suffered considerable damages in trade from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Korea has had less negative impact as the global demand for products like semiconductors and automobiles, in which Korea has comparative advantages, has rapidly recovered. Indeed, Korea’s economic recovery beginning in the second half of 2020 was led by exports.

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