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2009/10/13 13:54 KST
S. Korea should diversify export markets: customs office

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea must diversify its export markets in order to achieve a sustainable expansion of overseas shipments and prepare for the possibility of another global economic crisis, a government report said Tuesday.

   Of South Korea's 2008 exports, estimated at US$422 billion, around half went to China and other Asian markets. About 30 percent were sold in the European and North American markets, according to the report by the Korea Customs Service.

   However, shipments bound for resources-rich African countries, central Asian and Russian markets remained relatively marginal in terms of exports share, the report showed.

   Exports to Africa accounted for 2.2 percent of South Korea's total overseas shipments last year, compared with 1.7 percent in 1995, while those bound for central Asia and Russia rose from 1.4 percent to 3.2 percent, according to the report.

   "Compared with 1995, diversification of our export markets is underway as the ratio of shipments to European and Latin American markets has increased while dependence on the top 10 export markets has been on the decline," the report said.

   "Still, considering exports play a role in propping up our economy in case of an economic crisis, we need not only to increase competitiveness of key export items but also expand our goods to be sold in more diverse regions and countries," the report added.