Korea’s drug exports to China turned around this year amid the easing of trade tensions between the two countries.
The Chinese authorities recently began to allow group tours to Korea once suspended due to a conflict between Seoul and Beijing over the former’s decision to install a U.S. missile defense system in the country.
According to data from the Korea Customs Service, exports of pharmaceutical products to China under the HS Code 30 had been rising in the second half of every year but the figure declined for the first time in the second half of 2016. The Korean government announced its decision to place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on July 8, 2016.
On the contrary, the data started to go up this year from a year earlier.
Korea’s drug exports in the first seven months this year amounted to $135.8 million, up 34.7 percent from $100.8 million in the same period of last year.
The rapid growth in exports led Korea’s trade surplus to increase about 8 percent to $34.7 million in the seven months from $32.1 million a year earlier, despite an increase of imports by $32.4 million in the same period.
During the same period, exports of medicaments under the HS Code 3003 and 3004 climbed 28.5 percent, or up from $45.4 million to $58.4 million.
The trade surplus of medicaments, however, shrank to $12.2 million from $20.1 million as imports grew to $46.2 million from $25.3 million.
Korea’s annual exports of pharmaceutical goods steadily picked up every year from $83.6 million in 2012 to $147.9 million in 2015. However, the volume fell to $143.7 million in 2016.
Pharmaceutical products under the HS Code 30 include medicines such as anticancer drugs, aspirin agents, vitamins, cotton/gauze/bandages, reagents, contrast agents, emergency service kits, skins/bones, human blood, animal blood for disease treatment/prevention/diagnosis, and immune serums such as hemoglobin and vaccines for humans and animals.
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