S. Korea suffers most trade barriers ever amid pandemic: report

11/08/2020 12:00 - 37 total view

South Korea faced the most trade barriers ever in the first half of this year as pandemic-hit nations beefed up home economy first protectionism, data showed Sunday.

The total number of import regulations targeting South Korea reached 226 cases in the January-June period alone, according to the data compiled by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). It includes anti-dumping duties, safeguard measures and countervailing duties launched by 28 nations.

Such trade barriers have shown a steady increase from 117 cases in total in 2011 to 210 in 2019.

Anti-dumping duties constituted 73 percent of the 226 trade regulations on South Korean products in the first half of the year. Safeguard measures took up 23 percent, with countervailing duties coming in at 4 percent.

The United States launched the most trade barriers against South Korea with 44 cases, followed by 34 cases by India and 17 by China. Turkey and Canada had 16 cases and 14 cases, respectively.

South Korean steel and metal products faced the most trade barriers with 108 cases, or 48 percent, while plastic and rubber items constituted 18 cases.

Protectionism in India and Thailand noticeably strengthened, KOTRA said.

The emerging economies toughened import regulations on steel and chemical products as part of efforts to foster manufacturing companies at home.

The trade protectionism is highly likely to continue throughout the latter half of this year, KOTRA said.

The U.S. is elaborating on ways to protect homegrown pharmaceuticals and medical products ahead of the November presidential election, while the European Union is clenching its fists on subsidized foreign goods.

In the January-June period, South Korea's current account surplus reached $19.17 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the smallest in eight years since the first half of 2012.