South Korea exported more goods to the US than to China last year for the first time in almost two decades, underlining shifting trade patterns as Washington draws more allies into its supply chains and Beijing boosts its manufacturing self-reliance, reports the Financial Times. Goods exports from South Korea to China fell almost 10% to $122 billion between 2021 and 2022, according to data released by the Bank of Korea this week. By contrast goods exports to the US increased by more than 22% over the same period to $139 billion.
It is the first time since 2004 that South Korea—the world’s tenth largest economy with companies such as Samsung that are a bellwether of global trade—has exported more goods to the US than to China. The figures reflect a surge in US demand for Korean cars, while exports of Korean semiconductors to China have slumped amid a slowdown in the global memory chip market.
The US is the only one of South Korea’s top 10 export partners to which exports have grown over the past five years. Led by battery makers LG Energy Solution, SK On and Samsung SDI, and solar company Hanwha Q-Cells, South Korean companies have also been among the largest foreign investors in the US semiconductor and clean tech sectors.