Korea’s medical equipment exports totaled $2.92 billion (3.26 trillion won) last year, up 7.7 percent from 2016, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Thursday.
Import also rose 7.1 percent, however, causing a trade deficit of $230 million (257.3 billion won), similar to the previous year’s level, according to the ministry’s report on the nation’s foreign shipment of medical devices in 2016.
Ultrasound image diagnostic devices topped the list of medical equipment export by totaling $519.29 million and accounting for and 17.8 percent of total medical device exports.
Coming next was dental implants, whose overseas shipment amounted to $175.79 million, or 6 percent of total export, soft contact lenses with $149.38 million (5.1 percent), biomaterials for tissue repair with $139.907 million (4.8 percent), and medical image processing equipment and software with $128.79 million (4.4 percent).
Personal immunochemistry test ranked sixth at $125.87 million (4.3 percent), followed by medical probes with $116.1 million (4 percent), and high-risk sex steroid immunoassay for $107.86 million (3.7 percent), all of which exceeded $100 million.
The 10 largest export companies accounted for 35.6 percent ($1.03 billion) of total exports, with GE Ultrasound Korea topping the list with $206 million, followed by Samsung Medicine with $180 million, and Standard Diagnostics (SD) with $140 million.
By country, the largest share of exports headed to the United States with the amount of $577 million, or 17.1 percent of total exports. China came in second with $445.12 million, chased by Germany ($250.64 million, 8.6 percent), Japan ($201.3 million, 6.9 percent), India ($98.9 million, 3.4 percent) and Russia ($95.6 million, 3.3 percent).
In import, soft contact lenses accounted for 4.4 percent of the total at $137.59 million. Stents ranked second ($118.67 million, 3.8 percent), followed by artificial kidney filters ($75.23 million, 2.3 percent), computed tomography ($73.35 million, 2.3 percent), endovascular tube catheter ($72.84 million, 2.3 percent), and artificial knee joints ($72.11 million, 2.3 percent).
|Source :Ministry of Food and Drug Safety|
The U.S. accounted for around half of all medical equipment import by Korea, totaling $1.47 billion followed by Germany with $473.44 billion.
Last year, the domestic medical equipment market expanded 12 percent from 2015, amounting to $5.87 billion ($6.57 trillion), registering an annual growth of 9.6 percent over the past five years.
“Production of domestic equipment related to aging and cosmetics increased last year due to the growing interest in those markets,” the ministry said. “Exports are diversifying into China and France.”
The ministry also added, saying, “We can regard the increase in medical equipment export as the global recognition of Korean equipment’s safety and quality. We will do our best to develop the medical equipment industry through cutting-edge technology in artificial intelligence, big data, and robotic surgery amidst the fourth industrial revolution.”
The ministry also noted that 886 out of 2,943 manufacturing companies made foreign shipments last year, indicating a 4.5 percent increase from 2015. “The performance reflects positive effects of the Medical Device Integration Bank created in 2015 to provide technology trends and regulating information of the large foreign markets,” it said.
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