South Korea is an export-orientated country, with a total trade volume of 884.2 billion in 2010. This figure also makes them the 7th largest exporter and 10th largest importer in the world. Since 2003, South Korea has established its network of free trade agreements to boost trade and economic ties with other countries.
Currently, South Korea has 5 FTAs in effect, 3 FTAs which has concluded discussions, and 19 FTAs under negotiation and consideration. So far, the biggest FTA of South Korea is the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) signed in 2007. This free trade agreement plans to liberate 95 percent of the trade tariffs between the 2 countries. It is also US first free trade agreement with a major Asian economy and biggest deal since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed with Japan in 1993.
With a lack in natural resources, South Korea has a high dependence on import of capital goods, raw materials and industrial supplies. The country is also the 5th largest importer of oil in the world, with 3.074 million barrels imported per day.
List of South Korea's FTA
Korea-India CEPA FTA
Korea-EFTA (European Free Trade Area)
South Korea's Import and Export Indicators and Statistics at a Glance (2010)
Total value of exports: US$466.3 billion
Primary export - commodities: semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel ships, petrochemicals
Primary export partners: China (23.2 percent of total exports), US (10.1 percent), Japan (5.8 percent), Hong Kong (5.3 percent)
Total value of imports: US$ 417.9 billion
Primary imports - commodities: machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics
Primary import partners: China(16.8 percent of total imports), Japan (15.3 percent), US (9 percent), Saudi Arabia (6.1 percent), Australia (4.6 percent)