KITA News and Reports
  • Overseas Buyers, Korea’s Export Will Recover from First Half of This Year

             Overseas Buyers, Korea’s Export Will Recover from First Half of This Year


    - 85% of respondents hope to expand imports of Korean products this year -

    - Challenge to secure price and quality competitiveness to Chinese products -



    Despite the recent sluggish exports, it is appeared that overseas buyers see the high possibility of Korea’s export recovery.



    According to a report titled Overseas Buyers’ View on Korea’s Export Competitiveness and Recovery Time issued by the Institute for International Trade (President, Shin Seung-kwan) of the Korea International Trade Association, the survey of overseas buyers (563 companies) showed that 56.1 percent (17.6% in the first half of 2017, 38.5% in the second half of this year) of the respondents forecasted that the world’s import demands would recover in this year. The participants also evaluated that Korean products’ export competitiveness as well as brand image have been improved.



    85 percent of the buyers (45.8% in the first half of 2017, 39.2% in the second half of 2017) raised expectations to overcome Korea’s sluggish exports by responding that they have plans to expand the imports of Korean products this year. By region, it is probable that Korea’s exports will expand mainly in the Oceania, Africa, the Middle East and Europe markets.


    In the survey, 39.8 percent of the respondents said the competitiveness of Korean products has been improved compared to the past. Particularly, consumer goods, machinery, and textiles led the improvement of competitiveness. In addition, 67.5 percent of participants responded that brand image of Korean products is better than in the past. They evaluated that the product image of machinery, consumer goods, transport equipment and medical devices has been improved. 


    On the other hand, the biggest rival country of Korean products is China (47.6%), followed by Europe (17.6%) and the United States (8.7%). By market, the competition is severe between Korea and China in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Also, the two countries are competing in transport equipment, electronic devices and steel products. When it comes to competition against China, many respondents (31.8%) pointed out Korean products’ high price as the biggest issue. Korea’s price competitiveness is particularly weak in electric devices, machinery and consumer goods.     


    Kang Nae-young, a researcher at IIT said It is expected to see Korea’s export recovery from the first half of this year. However, if the trade tensions, such as import regulations, are intensified due to the spread of protectionism, it could be an obstacle for Korea to recover its exports. The researcher stressed In terms of product quality, the competition between Korea and China is becoming more severe. Therefore, Korean export companies need to continue to exert efforts to strengthen the overall product competitiveness, including quality and brand, and enhance high value-added industries.       


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