Bangladesh's export to South Korea has doubled in a decade, while import from the country has decreased slightly.
Nonetheless, the trade gap between the two countries is still over a billion dollars, which favours South Korea, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and the Korea Trade Association.
According to EPB, Bangladesh export earnings from South Korea reached nearly half a billion-dollar mark in the first 11 months of 2021, while the export volume was $244 million in 2011.
Entrepreneurs opined that this trade gap will reduce in coming days as apparel export to the country is increasing.
EPB data states, from January to November, Bangladesh's garments export to Korea was $323.85 million of the $498 million, the total export to the country.
Apparel export to South Korea was $266.60 million in 2000.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President Shahidullah Azim said South Korea is a very potential market for Bangladesh.
As a cold country, it has high demand for jackets and other high value clothing items, most of which is currently imported from China.
According to the Korea Trade Association data the country imported around $18 billion in apparel items in the fiscal year 2020-21.
Azim also mentioned that the BGMEA has plans to organise a roadshow in South Korea to explore this market by 2022.
In a press release, Ambassador Lee Jang-Keun of South Korea said, this year will mark a momentous turning point in the bilateral trade between the two countries after overcoming the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also expected strengthened bilateral cooperation between both the countries in the coming years.
He mentioned that Bangladeshi exporters enjoy the advantages of the preferential trade benefits, including duty and quota-free access to the Korean market for 95% Bangladeshi products since 2008.
The trade volume among Bangladesh and Korea recorded $2.01 billion between January and November this year, which is 54.6% higher from earnings of the same period of last year that was $1.30 billion.
Bangladesh mainly exports garments, sports and leisure items and bronze scraps to the Korean market.
Garment exports, which accounts for 81% of total export to Korea, increased by 32.4% compared to the previous year, which was worth $442 million, while export of sports and leisure items skyrocketed by 92% which was $303 million. Export of bronze scrap rose by 175% with $9.14 million.
Korea's export to Bangladesh which peaked in 2011 with $1.63 billion decreased to approximately $1.2 billion over the years and further deepened to $1.03 billion in 2020.
Major export items of Korea to Bangladesh are machinery, petrochemical products, steel and pesticides.
Import of machinery rose by 107% to $297 million which reflects the continued growth of Bangladesh's manufacturing sector. Import of Petrochemical products increased by 64.2% with $279 million. Steel import grew by 45.7% with $190 million and pesticides by 68% with $78 million.