South Korea imported US$3.23 billion worth of products from the Philippines during 2016, down by -3.2% from $3.33 billion three years earlier in 2014.
South Korea’s top 20 imports from the Philippines total $2.4 billion or about three-quarters (75.5%) of total South Korean purchases of Filipino goods for 2016.
Import purchases for those same 20 imported Filipino products in 2016 was down -2% since 2014 and but rose 1.1% from 2015 to 2016.
South Korea has a population of 50.9 million and is the world’s 13th richest country based on purchasing power parity (PPP), a methodology that factors in living costs and inflation. In comparison, the Philippines is home to 102.6 million people and ranks as the 29th biggest economy as measured by GDP in PPP terms.
South Korean Top 20 Imports from the Philippines
Below are the top 20 import products shipped from the Philippines to South Korea during 2016. Shown within parenthesis is the percentage change in sales over the three-year period starting in 2014.
- Integrated electronic circuits, microassemblies: $680.9 million (down -5.6%)
- Copper: $420.2 million (up 85.2%)
- Bananas, plantains: US$275.1 million (down -9.8%)
- Crude oil: $127 million (down -65.6%)
- Electrical capacitators: $95.4 million (down -10.1%)
- Computers, optical readers: $85.6 million (up 72.9%)
- Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas: $76.1 million (up 2.6%)
- Insulated wire, cable: $74.4 million (up 372.4%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $68.3 million (down -2.4%)
- High-temperature distilled coal tar oils: $65.4 million (up 253.7%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $62.6 million (up 20.8%)
- Electric motors, generators: $57.3 million (up 1,117%)
- Other measuring/testing machines: $54.3 million (down 4.9%)
- Phone system devices: $52.8 million (up 98.4%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $52.4 million (up 32.3%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $50.9 million (down -26.3%)
- Copper waste, scrap: $49.3 million (down -64.4%)
- Electrical machinery: $48.8 million (down -54.6%)
- Miscellaneous preserved fruits: $41.5 million (up 16%)
- Lenses, prisms, mirrors: $38 million (up 13.5%)
Bananas and plantains are the Filipino food product most in demand by South Korean consumers. Philippines placed sixth among the world’s biggest suppliers of fresh or dried bananas and plantains in 2016 trailing Ecuador, Costa Rica, Belgium, Colombia and Guatemala.
Most of the other items support South Korea’s massive consumer electronics and fiberoptic-based telecommunications industries. Products like crude oil, electrical equipment and insulated wire or cable are important components for South Korean energy needs. Niche product opportunities also exist; for example sales of Filipino miscellaneous preserved fruits.
Among South Korea’s Top 20 Imports from the Philippines, electric motors and generators appreciated the most from 2014 to 2016 via an impressive 1,117% gain.
Also leading the way for increasing South Korean imports from the Philippines were insulated wire or cable (up 372.4%), high-temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 253.7%), phone system devices including smartphones (up 98.4%) and copper (up 97.5%).
Leading the decliners in South Korean purchases from the Philippines were crude oil (down -65.6%), copper waste and scrap (down -64.4%), electrical machinery (down -54.6%) and solar power diodes or semi-conductors (down -26.3%).
World’s richest countries ranked, Rankings based on purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 5, 2017
The World Factbook, Population statistics for South Korea (see under People and Society), Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 5, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 5, 2017