Amid growing concern that the country could soon post a trade deficit in an industry that used to be a major growth driver for its economy, South Korea’s textile and clothing imports increased by 8.4 percent in 2014 to reach $14.66 billion.
According to figures released Tuesday by the Korean International Trade Association, 45 percent of these imports (valued at $6.59 billion) came from China.
Consequently, the country’s textile and clothing exports decreased last year by 0.1 percent to $15.94 billion, narrowing the industry’s surplus by $1.28 billion, about 50 percent less than the surplus amount in 2013.
This is not a new development: Yonhap News Agency reports the trade surplus has been declining since 1998 when it was at a peak high of $14.04 billion. Meanwhile, exports of textiles and clothing are shrinking as several factories are choosing to relocate to China and Vietnam due to high production costs in South Korea.