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S. Korea's goods trade surplus with U.S. rises 15 pct in 2019: data

All News 09:48 February 16, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's goods trade surplus with the United States rose 15 percent on-year in 2019, U.S. data showed Sunday.

According to the data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the world's largest economy posted a deficit of US$20.6 billion in trade with South Korea last year, up from a deficit of $17.8 billion a year earlier.

The trade deficit with South Korea was United States' 14th largest among countries around the globe in 2019, according to Washington, although its ranking was one spot down from 2018.

The U.S. exported $56.9 billion worth of goods to South Korea last year, up 0.7 percent from a year earlier, but the goods imported totaled $77.5 billion, an on-year increase of 4.4 percent, according to the data.

This file photo taken on May 14, 2019, shows containers at a port in Busan. (Yonhap)

Experts said the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea expanded last year after Seoul's shipments of its key export items, such as automobiles, electronics and petroleum products, increased sharply.

The data showed South Korea was the U.S.' seventh largest goods export market in 2019. South Korea was the U.S.' sixth largest supplier of goods imports last year.

Local pundits said the U.S.' expanded trade deficit with Asia's fourth largest economy may not be all good for South Korea since the Donald Trump administration has been focusing on reducing trade deficits.

The U.S. has been mulling whether to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported autos and parts for reasons of national security as defined in Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act.

However, some experts said South Korea could be exempted from the U.S. tariffs as it revised its free trade agreement with the U.S. last year at Washington's request.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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