South Korea's key imports mostly come from China: Report

Susan Lee 입력 2022. 5. 30. 14:48 수정 2022. 5. 30. 15:06
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[Photo by Yonhap]
Most of South Korea’s key imports from the United States, China and Japan are Chinese products, raising the need to diversify import sources to ensure supply chain stability amid the war in Ukraine and lockdowns across major cities in China, a report said on Monday.

Out of South Korea’s 228 key import items, 75.5 percent, or 172 items come from China, according to the report from Jeonbuk National University Professor Choi Nam-suk, that was commissioned and released by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). The key items were selected from those products with an import dependency ratio of over 90 percent and the import size in the top 30 percent.

Imports from Japan account for 14 percent, or 32 items, and American imports 10.5 percent, or 24 items.

Key Chinese imports that need monitoring include electrical products, machinery and computers, steel, organic and inorganic compounds, glass, medical supplies, and industrial raw materials such as non-ferrous metals. Examples of major imports from China include manganese, an essential material for steel manufacturing, graphite-based cathode materials in electric vehicle batteries, and magnesium used to reduce vehicle weight.

Key Japanese imports include electrical products, machinery and computers, plastics, and organic compounds for electrical products. Polyimide films used in foldable display materials, and equipment that manufactures semiconductor wafers are also examples of Japanese imports that require monitoring.

Major U.S. imports include oil, coal, aircraft, electrical products, fruits, machinery, and computers.

“If supply and demand for key imports are not monitored, we can experience another supply crisis like the urea solution shortage last year,” said Choi. There needs to be a system where we can constantly monitor the 228 items and we also need to diversify our import sources, he added.

Choi identified 133 imports out of the 228 as items often traded between companies and susceptible to supply chain disruptions.

Out of the 133 items, Chinese imports accounted for 95.4 percent, or 127 items, including semiconductor material tungsten oxide, calcium chloride, graphics cards, solar modules, and pesticide raw materials.

Japanese and U.S. imports each accounted for 2.3 percent, or 3 items, out of the 133 items.

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