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Main Industry SectorsEconomic OverviewForeign Direct Investment [FDI]FDI Government MeasuresCountry Strong PointsCountry Weak PointsForeign Trade Overview
The primary sector in South Korea is weak, counting only with a negligible contribution to thecountrys GNP. Rice is the main agricultural crop. Barley, wheat, corn, soybeans, and sorghum are also extensively cultivated. Likewise,livestock farming is done on a large scale. South Koreas mineral resources are limited to gold and silver. South Koreas main sectors of activity are textile, the steel industry, car manufacturing,shipbuilding and electronics. South Korea is the largest producer of semiconductors in the world. The manufacturing sector represents about 35% of the GNP, while the tertiary sectoraccounts for more than 60%.
Ranking fifteenth in the list of the worlds largest economic powers, South Korea hasshown a spectacular growth over the past thirty years.Due to its strong incorporation into international trade and finance, South Korea was oneof the most affected countries in Asia by the international financial crisis.South Korea’s GDP growth fell from 5.1% obtained in 2007 to 0.2% in 2009.South Korea was, nevertheless, one of the first economies to get out of the crisis, itsrecovery was strengthened by the dynamic growth in exports and an importantbudgetary and currency stimulus plan.Displaying a remarkable force, the countrys growth attained 6.1% in 2010, according tothe estimations, and it should remain at a high level.Once the economy started to grow again, the government has started to withdrawprogressively all the exceptional measures adopted during the crisis.In order to reinforce the activity, the country must succeed in controlling the incrementof public expenditures to be able to balance the budget, following the fiscal reformwhich intends to establish a system more favorable to the countrys growth.
The authorities must also supervise that this negative impact of restructuring theenterprises in the financial sector remains limited, continuing at the same time thestructural reform that aims to maintain the growth during an average period.The governments fixed objective is to bring the budget deficit to 0.5% in 2013.South Korea has to deal with the structural problems which are: an underdevelopedfinancial market, the rising of households debts and the ageing of the population.The revenue per capita in South Korea increased from USD 100 in 1963 to almost USD20,000 today.The unemployment rate has noticeably increased during the crisis and the number ofirregular workers is very high.
Under the effect of the worlds recession, the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) have reduced in2009; later on, they started to slowly increase again with the recovery, a trend that should be confirmed in2011. South Koreas appeal in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) is the result of the countrys fasteconomic development and the specialization of its industry in new information and communicationtechnologies. The lack of general transparency in regulations is a major concern to foreign investors.
Korea has implemented measures in order to protect Foreign Investment: External Remittance guarantees; Identical treatment to domestic firms with regard to business operations; Tax deductions provisions. South Korean restrictions or prohibitions in terms of foreign investment in sectors of public administration, educational organizations, national defense, etc.
The Korean workforce is highly skilled. The R&D capabilities, as well asthe quality of the infrastructures are deciding strong points for investors.
The laws and national regulations are restrictive and the manpower costis high. Private real estate, as well as renting office or shop premises is expensive.Lastly, competitiveness is relatively restrained.
South Korea is the worlds 15th trading nation, trade represents about 100% of thecountrys GDP. The trade balance of the country is on a high surplus and should remain so in the comingyears. Despite the effects of the financial crisis, which have greatly reduced this surplus, theweakness of the won (Korean currency) encourages exports. The main trade partners of the country are China, Japan, the European Union and theUnited States.
Visit us to download for related reportsMarket Opportunities of products and Services in South Korea.Export and investment sector opportunities in South Korea.Overview of Trade Regulations, Customs and Standards South Korea.South Korea Investment guide for beginners.Business and Project Financing in South Korea.Business Travel Advisory in South Korea.
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