South Korean textile exports to the U.S. will expand to USD 13.8 billion in 2008
In 2008, South Korean textile exports are expected to expand for the second consecutive year, due to the increase in exports of high value-added products and the diversification of overseas markets. South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy and trade representatives said at a meeting in Seoul that although they are worried about the global economic slowdown, South Korea’s textile and clothing exports will still increase by 1.6% from the previous year to USD 13.8 billion at the end of this year. This figure is about 3.3% of the government’s US$415 billion export target at the end of December. The export of high-quality chemical fiber and knitted garments is expected to continue to increase on the basis of last year's growth. The stable demand of Southeast Asian countries is conducive to expanding exports. Textile exports reached a peak of 18.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2000, but they declined steadily in the following years. However, it rebounded in 2007, with exports reaching US$13.5 billion, an increase of 2.3% over the previous year. The textile industry leaders demand that the government speed up the ratification of the free trade agreement with the United States, which may help South Korea’s exports to the world’s largest market. At the same time, they asked the government to provide greater support to improve the comprehensive competitiveness of the textile industry and establish closer cooperative relations with North Korea. As a manufacturing base for low-priced textiles and clothing, South Korea’s interest in North Korea is heating up. Government and industry experts agree that it is necessary to develop into the field of high-tech textile products and fibers, for example, the introduction of biology and information technology into the field of clothing.