Korea becomes world’s No. 3 cosmetics exporter in 2020

2021.06.22 09:55:30 | 2021.06.22 09:55:52

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South Korea’s cosmetics exports reached $7.67 billion in 2020, ranking third in the world only behind France and the United States and setting another milestone in the sector’s trade surplus, data showed Monday.

According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Monday, the country’s total exports of cosmetics products amounted to 8.29 trillion won ($7.57 billion) last year, up 16.1 percent from a year ago, allowing Korea to become the world’s third biggest cosmetics exporter after France ($14.81 billion) and the U.S. ($8.81 billion).

Exports of Korean beauty products were bigger than those of the country’s long-time mainstay export items such as home appliances ($7 billion), mobile phones ($4.1 billion), and pharmaceuticals ($7.2 billion), the data showed.

Korea’s imports of cosmetics came to 1.27 trillion won last year, leading to a surplus of 7 trillion won, up 14.0 percent from 2019. South Korea’s trade balance in the cosmetics sector has stayed in the black since 2012 and surpassed the 7 trillion won mark for the first time last year.

Cosmetics products accounted for 14.3 percent of Korea’s combined $44.86 billion trade surplus last year. Production of cosmetics in Korea decreased by 6.8 percent to 15.16 trillion won last year from 16.26 trillion won in 2019 mainly due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Exports to all major markets increased significantly, while the export markets were more diversified with 160 countries in 2020 versus 137 in 2019. China was the biggest importer of South Korean cosmetics last year at $3.8 billion, followed by Hong Kong with $714 million, the U.S. with $640 million and Japan with $639 million.

By Kim Hyo-hye and Minu Kim

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