Korea’s exports in the healthcare industry, including pharmaceutical products, medical device, and cosmetics goods, are expected to reach $11.7 billion, up 14.3 percent from last year.
Citing third-quarter statistics and 2017-2018 forecasts, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Thursday that Korea’s third-quarter healthcare exports rose 15.5 percent year-on-year to $8.6 billion. Healthcare imports also went up by 5.9 percent to $8.19 billion. The balance of trade posted a $400 million surplus by the third quarter this year, the ministry said.
Exports of pharmaceutical and medical products climbed 12.3 percent year-on-year to $2.72 billion, while imports inched up 3.9 percent to reach $4.36 billion (4.9 trillion won).
By country, the United States emerged as the No. 1 destination of Korea’s d pharmaceutical and medical products with $300 million. Japan came next by importing $290 million worth of Korean goods, followed by China with $230 million, and Brazil and Hungary, with $150 million each.
The ministry noted that exports of pharmaceutical goods to the U.S. jumped 174.7 percent year-on-year on the back of exports of biosimilar products, making the U.S. the largest importer of Korean drugs.
The government also said Korean drugs are actively entering advanced markets as nine countries out of the top 20 export destinations are in Europe. The nine countries are Hungary, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, the U.K., and Spain.
Exports of medical device expanded 13.9 percent to $2.26 billion in the third quarter from a year earlier. Imports rose 8.1 percent to $2.65 billion.
Leading export items in the medical equipment include diagnostic ultrasound imaging systems ($390 million), diagnostic tools for internal medicine, surgery, dental and veterinary medicine ($230 million), and orthopedic device ($200 million). By country, the U.S. is the largest export destination with $390 million, followed by China with $340 million, Japan with $180 million, Germany with $110 million, and India with $80 million.
The ministry forecast that Korea’s healthcare products will make quality growth next year with local drugmakers expanding their business in advanced markets and diversifying target countries.
In 2018, healthcare exports are expected to grow 16 percent to reach $13.6 billion, and imports to increase 4.5 percent to $11.2 billion, resulting in a $2.4 billion trade surplus, it said.
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