Korea, Republic of (ROK) - Foreign trade

Various types of machinery are the Republic of Korea's most important commodity exports, accounting for 58% of exported commodities. The Republic of Korea's other major exports include woven fabrics and ships. The top 10 exports are:

Korea, Republic of (ROK)

Electrical machinery 18.0
Transistors, valves 14.0
Passenger motor vehicles 6.9
Telecommunications equipment 6.1
Automatic data processing equipment 5.4
Refined petroleum products 5.3
Ships 4.8
Iron and steel 4.0
Apparel 2.9
Polymers 2.7

Oil and related products, chemicals, and raw materials are major imports, as most raw inputs for the country's industrial sector are imported. A lack of small companies and technological research compels the ROK to import components and production machines for the cars, videocassette recorders, computer chips, and ships that it manufactures. In 2000 South Korea's imports were distributed among the following categories:

Korea, Republic of (ROK)

Consumer goods 4.9%
Food 3.7%
Fuels 23.9%
Industrial supplies 27.4%
Machinery 36.7%
Transportation 3.1%
Other 0.3%

The United States, China and Japan have continued to be the ROK's chief trading partners by far, although potential new markets in Eastern Europe and the rest of Asia are being explored. Sa'udi Arabia and Indonesia have been major providers of oil and liquefied natural gas. Australia is a leading supplier of iron ore, coal, and grains. Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:

Korea, Republic of (ROK)

United States 37,806 29,286 8,520
China (inc. Hong Kong) 29,163 14,059 15,104
Japan 20,466 31,827 -11,361
Singapore 5,648 3,723 1,925
United Kingdom 5,380 2,576 2,804
Germany 5,154 4,625 529
Malaysia 3,515 4,878 -1,363
Indonesia 3,504 5,287 -1,783
Australia 2,606 5,958 -3,352
Sa'udi Arabia 1,262 9,642 -8,380

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