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S. Korea's imports of U.S. machinery, LPG surge in 2017

All Headlines 11:35 July 08, 2017

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of U.S.-made semiconductor equipment and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) surged in the first five months of the year as the Seoul government is making efforts to reduce its massive trade surplus with the world's largest economy, a report said Saturday.

A total of US$2.39 billion worth of machinery for manufacturing semiconductors were imported from the United States in the January-May period, up 140.7 percent, or $1.4 billion, from the same period last year, according to the report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

Imports of U.S. LPG shot up 129 percent on-year to $910 million over the five-month period, with the U.S. fuel outpacing that from the Middle East to rank first in the South Korean market.

Moreover, its imports of U.S. meat also jumped 22.9 percent on-year to $750 million, while those of aircraft and its components reached $1.45 billion through May, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier.

On the other hand, South Korea's exports of wireless devices to the U.S. tumbled 37.6 percent to $2.39 billion, while outbound shipments of cars and auto parts sank 8.5 percent and 14.9 percent on-year to $6.51 billion and $2.53 billion, respectively.

As a result, Asia's fourth-largest economy saw its trade surplus with the world's biggest economy decreased to a large extent in 2017.

For the first five months of the year, South Korea posted $6.96 billion in trade surplus with the U.S., down 36.7 percent, or $4.1 billion, from a year earlier.

"The downbeat pace of a trade surplus with the U.S. will likely continue in the latter half of this year," said the KITA report.

Seoul has been trying to reduce its surplus with the large North American country that reached a record $25.8 billion in 2015 and $23.2 billion in 2016 as the Trump government has blamed the two-way free trade pact for destroying jobs.

The massive surplus has also been under fire from the U.S. government, which could designate South Korea as a currency manipulator in October.

brk@yna.co.kr
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