Taiwan-South Korea Economic Relations
In 2018, bilateral trade totalled US$35.5 billion for a growth of 12.32% over the previous year. South Korea is Taiwan’s 5th largest trading partner, accounting for 5.71% of Taiwan’s total trade, while Taiwan is South Korea’s 6th largest trading partner, accounting for 3.29% of South Korea’s total trade.
In 2018, Taiwan’s exports to South Korea amounted to US$15.9 billion for an increase of 8.5% over 2017. Thus, South Korea has become Taiwan’s 6th largest export destination. The main export items include integrated circuits, petroleum and oil (except crude oil) extracted from bituminous minerals, transmission receivers used in radio broadcasts or television, etc. Comparatively, South Korea’s exports to Taiwan in 2018 amounted to US$19.5 billion. Hence, South Korea has become Taiwan’s 4th largest source of imports. The main import items include integrated circuits, petroleum and oil derived from bituminous minerals (excluding crude oil), cyclic hydrocarbons, machines and appliances specially designed for manufacturing semiconductor crystals or wafers, semiconductor devices, and machines or equipment used for integrated circuits and flat displays.
Given the aforementioned main export and import items, there is large-scale inter-industry trade and intra-industry trade between Taiwan and South Korea, which has strengthened bilateral economic ties.
According to statistics from the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan’s investment in South Korea in 2018 consisted of 7 cases, which totalled around US$220 million. Taiwan’s cumulative investment in South Korea since 1952 has consisted of 229 cases, amounting to US$1.56 billion. The main sectors of investment include electronic component manufacturing, finance and insurance, pharmaceutical manufacturing, computer and electronic products, and optical products manufacturing.
Comparatively, South Korea’s investment in Taiwan in 2018 comprised 123 cases, which totalled around US$41.5 million. South Korea’s cumulative investment in Taiwan since 1952 has consisted of 1,530 cases, amounting to US$1.23 billion. The main sectors of investment include electronic component manufacturing, wholesale and retail, computer and electronic products, optics manufacturing, finance and insurance, information and communications, and construction.
Current Status of Economic and Trade Cooperation between Taiwan and South Korea
Our two sides have successively signed agreements and memoranda regarding cooperation in such areas as exchange of electronic certificates of origin (2008), patent prosecution highway (2015), exchange of industrial property information and PDX (2015), as well as mutual recognition of authorized economic operator (2016), which has deepened bilateral economic and trade ties.