71 years ago, South Korea's first vessel carrying squid and agar took off for Hong Kong opening the door for the country's economic development.
By 1964, exports had reached 100-milion U.S. dollars.
And in 2018, South Korea was the world's sixth largest exporter, surpassing 1-trillion dollars in trade for two consecutive years.
"Exports to ASEAN countries have increased to the point that more than 20 percent of Korea's exports go to those countries.
So we can say that Korea has successfully diversified its export destinations, and in terms of export items from new industries such as electric cars and rechargeable batteries, it has shown remarkable growth."
But with turmoil in the global trade environment, exports in South Korea have struggled a bit this year.
Exports plunged by double digits on-year in November, falling for the 12th month in a row.
The trade ministry says outbound shipments were down last month by 14.three percent on year to 44.1 billion U.S. dollars due to slowing global demand and the U.S.-China trade war.
"Many Korean companies are in China to make their products there and then export them to the U.S. But with the U.S. having imposed high tariffs on goods being imported from China, the benefit coming from manufacturing in China has decreased.
So those companies that depend on exports to the U.S. must move their production lines to Vietnam, Indonesia, or India."
Korea International Trade Association expects the total exports for 2019 to drop by 10.2 percent from last year to 543-billion dollars.
"China now has the technology to make intermediate products that they used to import from Korea. So in order to enhance competency, Korea must change their export items to high-end intermediate products. And strengthening other sectors such as the service sector can also help increase exports."
Despite the hurdles, the agency projects a brighter future for exports next year.
They expect exports to recover from the current slump in the first quarter of next year as the unit price of semiconductors is expected to rise.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.