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Korea becomes world’s eighth-biggest trader
Publication Date : 05-03-2013
South Korea became the eighth-largest trading country last year, but exports by small and medium-sized companies are on the decline, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The country’s imports and exports amounted to US$1.07 trillion last year and were ranked eighth in the world, the ministry said Monday, citing a report by the World Trade Organisation.
Though the figure was a 1.1 per cent fall from the previous year, it surpassed that of Italy for the first time, the report showed.
Also, Korea’s trade ranking has been rising steadily over the years ― 13th in 2000, 11th in 2007, 10th in 2009, ninth in 2010 and eighth last year.
Despite the growth, Korea should expand the range of its export items, especially those by small and medium-sized corporations, the ministry noted.
The proportion of small and medium-sized companies in the country’s total exports fell from 42.9 per cent in 2001, to 34.5 per cent in 2010 and to 33 per cent in 2011, according to the ministry.
The number of the world’s top exporting businesses in Korea was 61 in 2011, while the corresponding figure in China and Germany were 1,431 and 777, respectively, according to a report by the Korea International Trade Association.
“We strategically need to foster ‘hidden champions,’ meaning small yet powerful companies which may take the initiative in the world market,” said a ministry official.
The United States remained as the world’s top trader last year with $3.88 trillion, and China followed closely with $3.86 trillion.