U.S. Overtakes China as Korea's Largest Export Market for First Time in Two Decades

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog07-02-2024

· According to Bloomberg, South Korea's exports to the U.S. surpassed those to China in December for the first time in 20 years.

· In December, South Korean exports to the U.S. totaled $11.3 billion, while exports to China totaled $10.9 billion.

· South Korea's exports rose 5.1% year-on-year during the month.


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For the first time since 2003, South Korea's exports of goods to the U.S. exceeded China's in December.


Last month, the U.S. imported $11.3 billion worth of goods from South Korea, according to Bloomberg data. Meanwhile, China imported $10.9 billion, according to its trade ministry.


While the figures reflect changes in just one month and may not indicate a lasting trend, they show a shift in trade flows amid a shifting geopolitical landscape and economic obstacles that have persisted since China reopened its economy after the outbreak.


China remains Korea's largest trading partner.


Policymakers in Beijing have been weighing various stimulus measures to shore up the country's economy, and the World Federation of Large Enterprises expects more economic headwinds in 2024.


"So far, the government has not implemented a broad stimulus program," the China Center of the World Federation of Large Enterprises said in its 2024 outlook. "Nonetheless, over the past few months, the government has been stepping up monetary and fiscal measures to stimulate 'targeted' investments, particularly in flood recovery and disaster prevention infrastructure. As a result, while the strong recovery seen in the third quarter of 2023 will dissipate, growth is likely to remain stable in 2024."


According to Bloomberg, shipments from South Korea on the U.S. side increased year-on-year for the fifth consecutive month.


South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol has been deepening ties with the U.S. as he visits Washington and meets with U.S. lawmakers. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has worked to reduce its dependence on China for business and technology, particularly semiconductors.


China is reportedly increasing spending on artificial intelligence and smartphone chip production.


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