The volume of bilateral trade between Korea and Bangladesh has reached another record high in 2022, exceeding $3 billion.
According to the statistics from the Korea International Trade Association, the bilateral trade volume in 2022 recorded $3.035 billion, 38.71percent increase from 2021 which was $2.188 billion.
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 remained stagnant for about a decade then after and shrunken by 2.9 percent in 2020, recording $393 million due to the adverse impacts of the 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 a 22.9 percent year-on-year increase.
The main exports of Bangladesh to Korea are RMG, sports and leisure items and bronze scraps, etc. RMG which accounts for 83.2 percent of total export to Korea recorded $564 million 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. Exports of bronze scrap rose by 41.8 percent with $17.76 million.
Korea’s export to Bangladesh, which peaked at $1.63 billion in 2011 fell sharply and hovered at $1.2 billion for almost one decade.
However, the increase in Korea’s exports to Bangladesh in 2021 and 2022 was mainly led by the hike in the 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-Russia war.
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 the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges derived from the Russia-Ukraine war.
He also hoped that 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.
Year Korea’s Export to Bangladesh Korea’s Import from Bangladesh
2014 1,236 345
2015 1,209 335
2016 1,158 293
2017 1,276 285
2018 1,238 347
2019 1,282 405
2020 1,033(-19.4%) 393(-2.9%)
2021 1,636(58.3%) 552(40.4%)
2022 2,357(44.1%) 678(22.9%)
(Source: Korea International Trade Association / Unit: million US dollars)