The bilateral trade volume between Korea and Bangladesh has reached another record high in 2022 exceeding 3.0 billion US dollars.
According to the statistics of the Korea International Trade Association, the bilateral trade volume in 2022 recorded USD 3.035 billion, a 38.71 per cent increase from 2021 which was USD 2.188 billion.
Bangladesh’s export to Korea increased by 22.9 per cent to USD 678 million in 2022 from USD 552 million in the previous year while Korea’s export to Bangladesh rose by 44.10 per cent with USD 2.357 billion in 2022 from USD 1.636 billion in 2021.
Bangladesh’s export to Korea has been continuously increasing since it crossed for the first time USD 100 million in 2007 and reached USD 200 million in 2011 and USD 300 million in 2013. But it had remained stagnant for about a decade then after and shrunk by 2.9 per cent in 2020 recording USD 393 million due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it witnessed a big rebound in 2021 to USD 552 million with a sharp increase of 40.40 per cent year-on-year and recorded another record high of USD 678 million in 2022 with a 22.9 per cent year-on-year increase.
The main export items of Bangladesh to Korea are RMG, sports and leisure items and bronze scraps, etc. RMG which accounts for 83.20 per cent of total export to Korea recorded USD 564 million in 2022, increasing 25.8 per cent year-on-year, while paper products and favourite food skyrocketed by 168.60 per cent and 165 per cent with USD 3.6 million and USD 3.1 million respectively. The export of bronze scrap rose by 41.8 per cent with USD 17.76 million.
Korea’s export to Bangladesh which peaked at USD 1.63 million in 2011 fell sharply and hovered at USD 1.2 billion for almost one decade.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it further deepened to USD 1.03 billion in 2020. In 2021, after a decade of stagnation, it finally rebounded to USD 1.636 billion in 2021, increasing 58.3 per cent year-on-year and to USD 2.357 billion in 2022 with a 44.10 per cent year-on-year increase.
However, the increase of Korea’s export to Bangladesh in 2021 and 2022 was mainly led by the hike of Bangladesh’s import of diesel from Korea which rose by 703.80 per cent to USD 972 million in 2022. Korea’s export of diesel to Bangladesh rose by 450 per cent in 2021 to USD 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-Russian war, a spokesperson of the Korean Embassy in Dhaka said.
Ambassador Lee 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 COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges derived from the Russian-Ukraine war.
He also hoped that Bangladesh's business sector takes advantage of the preferential trade policy of Korea which provides duty and quota-free access to the Korean market by 95 per cent of Bangladesh products since 2008.
Export to Korea, a non-traditional market, will also be given the benefit of receiving at least 4.0 per cent of cash incentives by the Bangladesh government.