(ATTN: ADDS Yoon's comments in 9th para)
SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is expected to log a record annual value of exports this year to become the world's sixth-largest exporter despite a global economic slowdown, the trade ministry said Monday.
The country, however, is experiencing extended trade deficit over high global energy prices and sluggish global demand in recent months, and the government vowed all-out effort to boost growth momentum for exporters facing multiple challenges.
The value of the country's exports is expected to come to over US$680 billion for this year, which will be larger than an all-time high of $644.4 billion set the previous year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
During the 11 months of this year, the figure came to $629.1 billion, up 7.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The country rose to the world's No. 6 exporter this year, up by one notch from the previous year, according to the ministry.
The performance was on the back of solid demand for the country's major export items, including semiconductors and petro products, as well as the record high sales of electric vehicles, secondary cells, and military items.
China is still South Korea's top trade destination, but South Korea reached the largest ever volume of shipments to the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and India to reduce dependence on the Chinese market, the ministry said.
During a ceremony to mark Trade Day in the day, the government unveiled a goal to be on the list of the world's top five exporting countries by 2026.
"The government will collect all of our export assistance capabilities to make the leap to a top five exporting power by 2026," Yoon said, noting that "exports have always been a strong buttress of our economy and are the backbone of our economy and the source of jobs."
In an effort to achieve the goal, the government vowed to execute next year's budget set for exporters in the first half of the year to better deal with multiple risk factors, including a global economic slowdown and high energy prices.
It also plans to come up with mid- to longer-term strategies to ease regulations and boost investment.
The event brought together Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang and some 1,000 officials from the government and business circle, according to the ministry.
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