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Cosmetics exports jump nearly 20% in 2017

July 06,2018
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K-beauty is on the rise overseas.

Korea’s trade surplus in cosmetics surpassed four trillion won ($3.6 billion) for the first time last year, increasing 18.5 percent over 2016, according to government data on Thursday.

According to data from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Korea exported 5.59 trillion won worth of cosmetics last year, and the trade surplus totaled 4.26 trillion won. Both exports and the trade surplus increased around 18 percent from 2016. Imports increased as well, but at the slower pace of 8.9 percent.

Cosmetics exports have recorded a trade surplus for the last six years, and first broke the one trillion won threshold in 2015. Korean cosmetics exports expanded rapidly over the last five years, with growth averaging 40.1 percent per year.

China imported the most Korean cosmetics last year, at 2.2 trillion won. The report pointed out that cosmetics exports to China rose by 23.1 percent despite the installation of the U.S.-led Thaad antimissile system in Korea, which lead to a Chinese boycott of Korean companies.

No. 2 Hong Kong bought 1.4 trillion, the United States (503.6 billion won) came in third and Japan (254.8 billion won) was in fourth place.

Despite China’s continued preeminence, export destinations grew compared to the past.

Southeast Asian countries had relatively small overall imports of Korean cosmetics, but their growth rates were high.

Exports to Vietnam last year almost doubled, while those to Indonesia rose 60.8 percent over 2016. New additions to the top 20 importers of Korean cosmetics were Germany, Poland and the United Arab Emirates.

Cosmetics exports to eight advanced economies, including the United States, France and Japan increased by 26.9 percent last year.

According to the report, this is a sign that Korean beauty products are gaining a reputation for quality.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]