The two-way trade between South Korea and Bangladesh has reached another record high in 2022 exceeding $3 billion.
Citing statistics of Korea International Trade Association, the South Korean embassy in Dhaka said, the bilateral trade in 2022 recorded $3.035 billion, which is 38.71 percent more than the 2021’s volume of $2.188 billion.
Bangladesh’s export to Korea increased by 22.9 percent with $678 million in 2022 from $552 million in the previous year while Korea’s export to Bangladesh rose by 44.1 percent with $2.357 billion in 2022 from $1.636 billion in 2021.
Bangladesh’s export to Korea has been continuously increasing since it crossed for the first time $100 million in 2007 and reached $200 million in 2011 and $300 million in 2013.
But it had remained stagnant for about a decade. It shrank by 2.9 percent in 2020 recording $393 million due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it witnessed a big rebound in 2021 to $552 million with a sharp increase of 40.4 percent year-on-year, and recorded another record high of $ 678 million in 2022 with 22.9 percent year-on-year increase.
The main export items of Bangladesh to Korea are RMG, sports and leisure items and bronze scraps.
RMG, which accounts for 83.2 percent of total export to Korea, recorded $564million in 2022, increasing 25.8 percent year-on-year, while paper products and favorite food skyrocketed by 168.6 percent and 165 percent with $3.6 million and $3.1 million respectively.
Export of bronze scrap rose by 41.8 percent with $17.76 million.
Korea’s export to Bangladesh which peaked with $1.63 billion in 2011 fell sharply and hovered at $1.2 billion for almost one decade.
In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic it further deepened to $1.03 billion in 2020.
In 2021 after a decade of stagnation, it finally rebounded to $1.636 billion in 2021, increasing 58.3 percent year-on-year and to $2.357 billion in 2022 with 44.1 percent year-on-year increase.
However, the increase of Korea’s export to Bangladesh in 2021 and 2022 was mainly led by the hike of Bangladesh’s import of diesel from Korea which rose by 703.8 percent to $972 million in 2022.
Korea’s export of diesel to Bangladesh rose by 450 percent in 2021 to $121 million.
While other major export items of Korea to Bangladesh are machinery, petrochemical products, steel and pesticides, etc., they all saw a decrease in 2022.
It appears to be mainly due to the import restrictions imposed by the Bangladesh government due to the foreign reserves situation in the country in the aftermath of the Ukraine-Russian war.
South Korean ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun said that the year of 2023 which marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Bangladesh will mark a momentous turning point in the bilateral ties between the two countries overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges derived from Russian-Ukraine war.
He also hoped that the Bangladesh business sector takes advantage of the preferential trade policy of Korea which provides duty and quota free access to the Korean market by 95 percent of the Bangladesh products since 2008.
Export to Korea, a non-traditional market, will also be given a benefit of receiving at least 4 percent of cash incentives by the Bangladesh government.