Skip to Navigation to Main Content :: Republic of Korea: Exports, Imports, and Trade Balance

View Section in Publication :: Return to Overview

Key Economic Trends

  • In 2009, the U.S. trade deficit with Korea decreased by 14 percent as the drop in U.S. imports outpaced the drop in U.S. exports. The primary cause of the drop in U.S. exports to Korea was a large depreciation in the value of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar. U.S. imports from Korea declined principally because of reduced demand from the U.S. manufacturing sector and the U.S. economic downturn.
  • In 2009, the largest decreases in U.S. exports were in the agricultural products, transportation equipment, and electronic products sectors. The drop in U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea was mostly due to a decline in food and feed grain exports. U.S. exports of corn were hurt by Korean concerns with regard to biotechnology products and the increased use of wheat rather than corn for animal feed. U.S. exports of wheat declined because of increased competition from other wheat-exporting countries in the Korean market.
  • In 2009, the largest decreases in imports from Korea were in the transportation equipment (especially automobiles and parts), minerals and metals, and electronic products sectors. Imports of transportation equipment fell because Korean automobile and parts manufacturers shifted production to plants in the United States. Weakened demand in the U.S. construction and electronics industries for construction equipment, semiconductors, integrated circuits, and telecommunications equipment accounted for most of the decline in imports in these product sectors.

Trade Shifts from 2008 to 2009

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $1.9 billion (14 percent) to $11.7 billion
  • U.S. exports: Decreased by $6.0 billion (18 percent) to $27.1 billion
  • U.S. imports: Decreased by $7.9 billion (17 percent) to $38.8 billion

Other Government Resources

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Korea - U.S. Free Trade Agreement

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook - South Korea

U.S. Department of State
Background Note South Korea