The ministry said on January 4 that South Korea posted an estimated $34.25 billion in trade surplus with Vietnam in 2022. The Southeast Asian country topped the list of countries with which South Korea enjoyed a surplus.
Vietnam edged out Hong Kong which was listed at the top of the trade surplus list for South Korea in both 2020 and 2021. The U.S. came second with $27.42 billion, followed by Hong Kong with $25.05 billion and India with $9.66 billion.
China, which had long taken first place in the list until 2019, plunged to 22nd place with $1.33 billion last year, down from the third place with $24.22 billion in 2021. The plunge was attributed to Korea’s sluggish exports to China and its growing imports of raw materials from the Asian giant.
The ministry said that Vietnam has emerged as the most profitable trading partner for Korea despite global downside risks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensifying superpower rivalry between the U.S. and China.
The ministry expects that Korea’s trade surplus with Vietnam will increase further if the two countries step up their cooperation in investment, trade, and business this year which marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Domestic businesses have invested a combined total of $23 billion in Vietnam over the last 10 years with the Southeast Asian country attracting the largest foreign direct investment from Korea. Vietnam has played a bigger role in the global supply network following the Sino-U.S. strategic competition and the Russian war in Ukraine.
Korea suffered from the largest trade deficit of $36.71 billion with Saudi Arabia among the country's all trading partners, followed by Australia with a shortfall of $25.87 billion.
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