South Korea is preparing to review the textile industry. The textile industry was once South Korea’s main export industry. South Korea’s textile industry has become a new growth locomotive based on high technology, such as medical fabrics, according to the South Korean textile industry and government on Tuesday. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) said that in 2007, exports of Korean textile products reached 13.5 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 12.6 trillion won), an increase of 2.3% from 2006. This means that the Korean textile industry has improved for the first time since 2000. In 2000, Korean textile exports reached 18.9 billion U.S. dollars, and then declined year by year. In 2006, it dropped to 13.2 billion U.S. dollars. After the Korean War (1950-53), South Korea was still a poor country, exporting wigs and cheap textiles in the 1960s. In 2006, in just 40 years, South Korea became the 11th largest exporter in the world, with exports reaching a record of 300 billion. But South Korea’s textile industry represented the rapid development of South Korea’s economy in the 1970s and 1980s, and automobiles and other high technologies promoted economic growth. In competition with other emerging economies, such as China, the Korean textile industry was severely hit by the 2005 textile trade liberalization, which once again reduced the export space. However, this situation was reversed last year. Exports increased by 2.3% compared to 2006 because of oversupply and the end of price reduction competition. Textile companies strive to expand high value-added production and consolidate overseas markets. South Korean government officials predict that this trend will continue this year, marking two consecutive years of growth in exports. An official from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said: We expect the export of textile products to increase by 1.6% over last year to reach US$13.8 billion. The official added that despite the unfavorable factors, such as high crude oil prices and the rapid growth of China's textile industry, there are still favorable factors, such as the envisaged implementation of the free trade agreement with the United States. The economic project in the integrated industrial zone in Kaesong will help the Korean textile industry understand the big opportunities for development and export, other officials said. Business leaders held a meeting with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy on Tuesday to request early approval of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, activate economic cooperation between North and South Korea, and expand government support for the textile industry. A participant said that the government and business community agreed to work together to develop technologies for high-tech products suitable for the future textile market, such as fashionable textiles, medical textiles and nano-component textiles.