FDI in South Korea tops USD20B for 5th straight year

SEOUL (Xinhua) – Foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Korea topped USD20 billion for the fifth straight year through this year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said yesterday.

As of December 2, FDI in the country came in at USD20.3 billion, exceeding the USD20 billion mark for five years in a row, the ministry data showed. FDI declined in double figures in the first and second quarters on a yearly basis, before turning upward from the third quarter, the ministry said.

The ministry noted that despite the difficult investment environment, caused by the global trade feud and the trade spat between South Korea and Japan, FDI in South Korea surpassed USD20 billion earlier than expected due to strong investment in the industrial parts, materials and equipment sector. The Seoul-Tokyo trade dispute was triggered by Japan’s tightened control in July over its export to South Korea of three materials vital to produce memory chips and display panels that are the mainstay of the South Korean export.

In August, Japan dropped South Korea off its whitelist of trusted trading partners that are given preferential export procedure. In response, Seoul removed Tokyo from its whitelist of trusted export partners.

South Korea believed that Japan’s export curbs came in protest of the South Korean top court’s rulings that ordered some of Japanese firms to pay reparations to the South Korean victims who were forced into hard labour without pay during the 1910-45 Japanese colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.