Increasing trade surplus with South Korea

Before the EU-Korea summit taking place in Seoul on the 15th of September 2015, Eurostat published several figures about trade between the European Union and South Korea.

Over ten years, the value of goods exported from the European Union to South Korea has constantly increased and more than doubled, from 17.9 billion euros to 43.2 billion euros. Imports on the contrary have been more irregular, with a peak in 2007 (41.7 billion euros) and a level of 39.0 billion euros in 2014. Trade balance has finally reversed: after constant deficit from 2004 to 2012, it results now in a surplus of 4.1 billion euros in 2013 and 2014.

Manufactured goods accounted for 84% of total exports from the EU to South Korea and 92% of its imports in 2014.

South Korea is the eighth most important trade partner for the European Union, after Japan and before India, accounting for around 2.5% of total extra-EU trade in goods. Over the last decade, the share of South Korea in extra-EU exports increased from 1.9% in 2004 to 2.5% in 2014, while its share in imports dropped from 3.0% in 2004 to 2.3% in 2014.

Within the European Union, main countries exporting to South Korea are Germany (15.7 billion euros, 36%), United Kingdom (5.1 billion euros, 12%), France (5.0 billion euros, 12%) and Italy (4.2 billion euros, 10%). Main countries importing South Korean goods are Germany (6.8 billion euros, 17%) and the United Kingdom (4.5 billion euros, 12%). Sixteen member states recorded a deficit (mainly Slovakia, 3.4 billion euros), while highest surplus are observed in Germany (8.9 billion euros), France (2.8 billion euros) and Italy (1.8 billion euros).

Source: Eurostat


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