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China emerges as S. Korea's No. 2 trading partner in Q4

All News 11:38 January 17, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- China became South Korea's second-largest trading partner in the fourth quarter of last year, unseating Japan for the first time, data showed Sunday.

According to the data by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), South Korea's trade with China came to US$75.6 billion in the October-December period, with Seoul's trade with Japan reaching $71.7 billion. The United States was Seoul's top trading partner.

South Korea's trade with Japan had been hovered above that of Japan, though Seoul's exports to China surpassed its shipments to Japan in 2003.

KITA attributed China's rise to South Korean exporters' relatively good performance in the world's second-largest economy.

South Korea's exports to China dropped 8.2 percent on-year in 2015, compared with a 14.1 percent annual fall in Beijing's overall imports.

South Korean goods accounted for 10.4 percent of China's import market last year, recording a double-digit share for the first time.

For all of 2016, South Korea's trade volume with China will likely exceed that of Japan, given the implementation of a Seoul-Beijing free trade agreement in December, KITA said.

Meanwhile, South Korean investment in China came to $3.7 billion in the first 11 months of last year, $700 more than Japan's investment, according to the data. It was the first time in eight years for South Korea to outstrip Japan in investment in China.

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