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S. Korean products' market share in U.S. hits 15-yr high

All Headlines 14:14 March 14, 2016

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's products saw their share in the U.S. import market hit the highest level in 15 years in 2015 thanks in part to lowered trade barriers based on a free trade deal, industry data showed Monday.

South Korean products made up 3.2 percent of the import market in the United States last year, up from about 3 percent tallied the previous year, according to the data by the Korea International Trade Association.

This marked the highest since 2000, when it rose to 3.31 percent.

The ratio has been on the increase since 2008, when it stood at 2.3 percent. It jumped sharply to 2.75 percent in 2013, a year after a free trade agreement between the two countries went into effect.

The rise comes despite a fall in overall sales of products bound for the U.S. South Korea's exports to the U.S. inched down 0.6 percent on-year to $69.83 billion, but it was relatively better than other competing countries without free trade deals in place, experts said.

Japan, which does not have a free trade deal with the U.S., has seen its presence there decline for years. Compared with 12.05 percent in 2000, its market share fell to 5.85 percent last year.

The data showed that South Korea's sales of electric and electronic goods in the U.S. increased 12.5 percent on-year in 2015 apparently bolstered by lowered trade barriers.

Those of machinery products expanded 12.4 percent, and farming and fishery ones climbed 12.9 percent.

Meanwhile, South Korea's imports from the U.S. shrank 2.8 percent on-year to $44.02 billion in 2015, driven in part by less demand for grains, animal feeds and medical products, according to the data.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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