South Korea Economy, GDP, Budget, Industry and Agriculture


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South Korea Economy

View the information below regarding the economy of South Korea. The summary and statistics contains gdp, industry, agriculture and more for South Korea. If you need other information please visit the South Korea Country Page.

  • South Korea Government
  • South Korea People
  • South Korea Geography
  • South Korea History
    Nominal GDP (2002 est.): About $425.0 billion
    GDP growth rate: 2001, 3.3%; 2002 , 6.0%.
    Per capita GNI (2002 est.): $9,800.
    Consumer price index: 2001 avg. increase, 4.1%; 2002, 2.8%.
    Natural resources: Limited coal, tungsten, iron ore, limestone, kaolinite, and graphite.
    Agriculture, including forestry and fisheries: Products--rice, vegetables, fruit. Arable land--22% of land area.
    Industry: Types--Mining and manufacturing: textiles, footwear, electronics and electrical equipment, shipbuilding, motor vehicles, petrochemicals, industrial machinery.
    Trade (2002): Exports--$162.5 billion: electronic products (semiconductors, cellular phones, computers), automobiles, machinery and equipment, steel, ships, textiles. Major markets--China (including Hong Kong) (20.7%), U.S. (20.2%), European Union (12.8%), Japan (9.3%). Imports--$152.1 billion: crude oil, food, machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals and chemical products, base metals and articles. Major suppliers--Japan (19.7%), U.S. (13.7%), China (11.4%), European Union (10.1%).

    Economy of South Korea
    The Republic of Korea's economic growth over the past 30 years has been spectacular. Per capita GNP, only $100 in 1963, exceeded $9,800 in 2002. Soth is now the United States' sixth-largest trading partner and is the 12th-largest economy in the world.

    In the early 1960s, the Park government instituted sweeping economic reforms emphasizing exports and labor-intensive light industries. The government carried out a currency reform, strengthened financial institutions, and introduced flexible economic planning. In the 1970's Korea began directing fiscal and financial policies toward promoting heavy and chemical industries, as well as consumer electronics and automobiles. Manufacturing continued to grow rapidly in teh 1980's and early 1990's.

    In recent years Korea's economy moved away from the centrally planned, government-directed investment model toward a more market-oriented one. Korea bounced back from the 1997-98 crisis with IMF assistance, and carried out extensive financial reforms that restored stability to markets. These economic reforms pushed by President Kim Dae-jung , helped Korea maintain one of Asia's few expanding economies, with growth rates of 10% in 1999 and 9% in 2000. The slowing global economy and falling exports account for the drop in growth rates in 2001 to 3.3%, but in 2002 Korea pulled out a very respectable 6.0% growth rate. Restructuring of Korean conglomerates (chaebols), bank privatization, and creating a more liberalized economy with a mechanism for bankrupt firms to exit the market remain Korea's most important unfinished reform tasks.

    North-South Trade
    Since 1988, two-way trade between the two Koreas has increased from $18.8 million in 1989 to $647.1 million in 2002. In 2002, South Korea imported $271.57 million worth of goods from North Korea, mostly agro-fisheries and metal products, while shipping $371.55 million worth of goods, mostly humanitarian aid commodities including fertilizer and textiles as inputs for North Korean garment manufacturers. The ROK is now North Korea's third-largest trading partner, after China and Japan. Numerous ventures by the Hyundai Corporation have contributed to North Korea's economy, including the Mount Keumgang (Diamond Mountain) tourist site. Last year alone, 84,347 visitors traveled by Hyundai-operated passenger ships, and most recently via land routes, as part of this tourism initiative, raising the total number of South Korean visitors to over half a million. A mere 1,141 North Koreans traveled to South Korea, mainly for joint sporting events. Hyundai Asan is also lined up to be the South Korean party that will help develop a 800-acre industrial complex in Kaesong, located near the DMZ, subject to final agreements, including between Seoul and Pyongyang. The year 2002 witnessed significant progress on the Seoul-Sinuiju railroad, on both reconstructing road and rail links across the DMZ.

  • South Korea Government
  • South Korea People
  • South Korea Geography
  • South Korea History