Korea’s export of medical supplies to China, including medicines, fell sharply in the second half of last year after the government decided to deploy the U.S. anti-missile battery in this country, government statistics showed Wednesday.
Shipments to China between July and December last year recorded a negative growth for the first time in five years, according to data at Korea Customs Service analyzed by this paper.
The medical supplies, which fall under the category of the HS Code 30, include medicines such as cancer drugs, aspirins and vitamins; cotton balls, gauzes and bandages; reagents, contrast media and aid kits; skin and bones; human and animal bloods prescribed for treatment, prevention and diagnosis; and immune serum such as hemoglobin and vaccines for humans and animals.
|(Source: Korea Customs Service)|
The second-half export totaled $81.38 million, down $2.22 million, or 2.7 percent, from the same period of 2015. The six-month shipments recorded year-to-year growth rates of 30.6 percent in 2013, 11.3 percent in 2014 and 19 percent in 2015, but turned downward last year.
Korea’s surplus in medical supply trade with China also dropped drastically. The surplus in the latter half of last year stood at $10.31 million, plunging 52.9 percent from $21.88 million a year ago. The sluggish shipment of the second half also pushed down the yearly export to $8.54 million, compared with $143.8 million a year earlier.
The export of medicinal products (HS Code 3003, 3004) increased, but its growth tempo slowed. The second-half shipment of medicines rose 4 percent to $39.63 million, compared with the increase rates of 11.5 percent in the same period of 2015 and 19.7 percent in 2014.
The nation’s surplus in medicine trade against China widened, however, as the import from China fell more steeply than export to it. The surplus jumped 205 percent from a year ago to $4.12 million. During the same period, drug import from China fell from $36.7 million to $35.5 million, the statistics showed.
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