South Korea’s trade with China has shifted from a surplus to a deficit, drawing attention from various parties. According to the Chinese General Administration of Customs, in the first quarter of this year, South Korea’s exports to China were $38.2 billion, down 28.2% from the same period last year, the largest decline among its major trading partners. The report cites a Bank of Korea (BOK) report, which states that the positive effects of reopening of China’s economy are limited, and the pace of domestic demand recovery has not accelerated, particularly for durable goods such as mobile phones and cars, which have impacted South Korea’s exports.
South Korea remained the second-largest trading partner in China’s import trade for the entire year of 2022. However, in the first quarter of this year, South Korea dropped to fifth place in terms of import trade, following the United States, Taiwan, Australia, and Japan. At the same time, South Korea’s imports from China in the first quarter of this year also fell by 7.1 percent compared to the same period last year.
The BOK report suggests that South Korea’s significant decline in exports to China is largely due to the slump in semiconductor exports. Due to the global decline in semiconductor demand and a sharp drop in memory chips prices, South Korea’s overall semiconductor exports in the first quarter of this year fell by 40 percent compared to the same period last year. In particular to China, South Korea’s semiconductor exports saw a decline of 31.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 44.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), April 30, 2023