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S. Korea's investment in U.S. hits 6-yr high in 2016

All Headlines 09:12 February 08, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- New South Korean investment in the United States reached a six-year high in 2016, also surpassing new U.S. investment in South Korea, data showed Wednesday.

According to the data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), fresh South Korean investment in the United States reached US$6.94 billion in the first nine months of last year.

The amount, even without fourth quarter figures, is close to the annual total of $7.31 billion in 2011, the highest in six years.

The annual tally for 2015 came to $5.66 billion, slightly up from $5.59 billion the previous year, according to KITA.

New U.S. investment in South Korea, on the other hand, has been on a steady decline.

Fresh U.S. investment to the country came to $3.88 billion in 2016, plunging 29 percent from $5.48 billion the year before.

S. Korea's investment in U.S. hits 6-yr high in 2016 - 1

A steady rise in South Korean investment to the U.S. may refute the new Donald Trump administration, which has argued that bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Seoul and Washington has only benefited South Korea, KITA officials noted, adding foreign investment helps not only to boost a country's overall economy but also create new jobs.

"Investment trends need to be looked at in long-term perspectives, but it is true that more has gone out to the U.S. from South Korea than what has come here from the U.S. over the past few years," an official said, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official insisted the increase in South Korean investment to the U.S. will likely continue for some time, noting the country's leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. was set to single-handedly invest $3.1 billion in the U.S. over the next five years.

"Should the Trump administration demand a renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. FTA in the future, we must point out the fact that the country is investing more in the U.S. than the U.S. is in South Korea," the official added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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