Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Korea's Dependence on Foreign Trade

One reads a great deal about South Korea's export-led economic growth and its dependence on foreign trade.  Nonetheless, I was struck by today's article in The Korea Times that graphically quantified Korea's dependence on exports.  Last year, imports and exports made up 92.3 percent of the Korean economy, breaching the 90 percent level for the first time.  Exports accounted for 45.4 percent of the national income, while imports made up 46.9 percent.
Such dependence on foreign trade is inevitable for an economy like Korea.  Other Asian economies depend even more heavily on trade.  Last year Singapore saw its ratio record 361.7 percent followed by Hong Kong with 348.4 percent.   Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan also had ratios higher than South Korea.
I would only add that ICT exports and imports play a very important role in this overall picture.  It would be nice to break out the ICT sector to see just how things stand.

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