South Korea’s exports of products in the healthcare sector surged 30.9 percent in the first half from a year earlier, government data showed.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare released on Thursday, shipments of drugs, medical devices, and cosmetic goods amounted to $7.1 billion (7.8 trillion won) in the first half, up almost 31 percent from the same period last year.
Imports in the healthcare industry went up 20.7 percent to reach $6.4 billion (7 trillion won). The trade balance of health-related products stood at $700
By product type, exports of pharmaceutical goods jumped 33 percent in the first half year-on-year, those of medical devices, 13.3 percent, and cosmetics, 40.6 percent, respectively.
Drug exports amounted to $2.2 billion in the first half, up 33 percent from a year earlier. Imports also climbed 30.7 percent to hit $3.6 billion. The trade deficit of medicines widened to $1.48 billion in the first half from $1.18 billion a year earlier.
Germany was the No.1 destination for Korean drugs, purchasing $250 million worth products, followed by Japan with $230 million, China with $200 million, Turkey with $190 million, and the U.S. with $180 million.
A surge in Korea’s exports of biological medicines led the exports to Germany spike by 416 percent, to Turkey by 1,481.8 percent, and to the Netherlands by 211.4 percent.
Exports of finished medications expanded 51 percent year-on-year to $1.46 billion in the first half, and those of pharmaceutical ingredients, 8.7 percent to 780 $million.
Major export items in finished drugs included biological medicines (immunity-related items), which sold $820 million and accounted for 36.8 percent of the exports of finished pharmaceuticals. Korean vaccines sold $80 million overseas, and botulinum toxins, also $80 million.
Shipments of medical devices grew 13.3 percent year-on-year to reach $1.66 billion in the first half, and imports also went up 11 percent to $1.95 billion.
The U.S. was the largest importer of Korean medical devices, importing $290 million worth goods, followed by China with $270 million, Japan with $120 million, Germany with $80 million, and Russia with $70 million.
Major export items in medical devices were ultrasound imaging devices ($264 million, up 7.5 percent), dental devices ($164 million, up 11.8 percent), and dental supplies ($153 million, up 32.1 percent).
Among the top 20 medical equipment in exports, beauty equipment exports jumped 56.5 percent, those of dental X-rays, 49.2 percent, and X-ray components, 39.5 percent.
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