S. Korea’s agricultural exports to China plunge amid THAAD row

SEOUL-- South Korea's agricultural and fisheries exports to China fell in July, marking the fourth straight month of declining numbers amid the ongoing diplomatic spat between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system here, data showed Friday.

Shipments of South Korean agricultural and fisheries goods to China were estimated at US$111 million in July, down 11.2 percent from $125 million during the same period last year, according to the data from the state-run Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. (AT).

Exports to China, which posted a 3.6 percent on-year growth in March began falling in April, when they dropped 9.9 percent on-year. In May and June outbound shipments were down 17.3 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.

Since mid-March, South Korean companies in China have faced boycotts and regulatory inspections as Beijing ratcheted up pressure on Seoul to ditch its plan to host the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

Experts say the decline could continue for a while as the Seoul government plans to deploy additional THAAD launchers after North Korea conducted its second successful intercontinental ballistic missile test last week.

The decrease in shipments could act as a drag on South Korea's overall exports as China is the second-largest importer of South Korean products following Japan.

South Korea's exports have been on a steady rise since November, led by an upturn in oil prices and recovering global trade. The country has posted double-digit export growth for seven months in a row.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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