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Korea’s MBI to Establish EV Plant in Vietnam

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MBI, a Korean manufacturer specializing in making transmissions, will build an electric car plant in Hanoi, Vietnam, jointly with local firm N&G Group. The two companies will invest a total of US$1 billion for the next seven years. The companies said on September 21 that the heads of the two companies signed an agreement to establish a joint venture called ... Read More »

Gov’t to expand Gwangju-Hyundai job model


The central government will use and expand a model by Gwangju City and Hyundai Motor aimed at boosting job creation across the country’s provincial areas, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The ministry said the government will encourage regional offices to adopt and develop the model with companies of any size to open plants, create jobs and spur ... Read More »

Korea’s income gap hits record high in Q4


South Korea’s household income inequality hit a record high in the fourth quarter of 2018, government data showed Thursday, prompting officials to step up efforts to carry out a series of measures to support low-income people. An average household earned 4.6 million won ($4,000) per month in the October-December period, up 3.6 percent from the previous year, according to the ... Read More »

Coal imports set another record in 2018


Korea’s coal imports hit a new high last year despite government efforts to phase out the use of fine dust-emitting energy sources, industry data showed Tuesday. The country shipped in 131.52 million tons of coal last year, breaking the record for the second consecutive year. Coal imports in 2017 totaled 131.46 million tons. The figure for 2018 marks an 11 ... Read More »

South Korea Resumes Iran Oil Import

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South Korea resumed imports of Iranian oil in January after a four-month hiatus, customs data showed on Friday, but shipments were down 76% from the same month last year. The world’s fifth-largest crude importer won a six-month waiver in November from US sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports, but did not immediately start imports, mainly due to payment and insurance issues, ... Read More »

Korea, US ink provisional defense cost-sharing pact

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South Korea and the United States signed a provisional agreement Sunday on the sharing of costs to maintain US troops here, with South Korea raising its share by 8.2 percent. Seoul’s negotiator, Chang Won-sam, and his US counterpart, Timothy Betts, met in Seoul to ink the contract. Under the new deal, South Korea will pay about 1.03 trillion won ($890 ... Read More »

Korean exports expected to fall in 2019: observers


South Korean exports are forecast to decline in 2019, as outbound shipments contracted for two months in a row, economic organizations and observers said Wednesday. The poor export showings in December and January marked the first time in 27 months that shipments have fallen in consecutive months on an annual basis and are an indication of tougher times ahead for ... Read More »

Fake eyelashes from Korea costs US cosmetics company US$1 million in fines


United States beauty firm e.l.f. Cosmetics has agreed to pay almost US$1 million in fines for importing fake eyelashes containing materials from UN-sanctioned North Korea, said the US Treasury Department. Between 2012 and 2017, the company imported “156 shipments of false eyelash kits from two suppliers located in the People’s Republic of China that contained materials sourced by these suppliers” ... Read More »

Korea shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy eyes stake in rival Daewoo

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SEOUL: South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy, the world’s biggest shipbuilding group, is interested in buying into second-ranked Daewoo, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, in what could create an entity controlling over 20 percent of the global market. The move comes as the worldwide shipbuilding sector recovers from a global economic downturn that led to massive losses, widespread ... Read More »

Korea Smuggling Across Chinese Border Increases After Kim Visit to China


Korea-based online news site NK reported that smuggling activities at the border between North Korea and China increased after Kim’s visit to China in early January, citing multiple unnamed sources in the North Korean province of Ryanggang. The January visit was Kim’s fourth visit to China since his first in March 2018. In all four meetings, Kim met with Chinese ... Read More »

Korea’s exports fall 14.6% in first 20 days of January

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Korea’s exports dropped 14.6 percent on-year in the first 20 days of January, hit by a plunge in overseas shipments of semiconductors, customs data showed Monday. The country’s exports stood at $25.7 billion in the January 1-20 period, according to Korea Customs Service. The customs office said daily average exports — which reflect working days — declined 8.7 percent on-year ... Read More »

China-Korea trade battered by UN sanctions


BEIJING: China’s trade with North Korea plummeted last year, data showed Monday, as harsh UN sanctions batter the nuclear-armed country’s economy. Beijing is a key ally of the isolated state and its main source of trade and aid – but in 2017 it backed United Nations measures to punish Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile activities. The sanctions on ... Read More »

Over 70% of East Asian execs say trade war will hurt businesses

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More than 70% of corporate leaders in China, Japan and South Korea expect the trade war to damage their businesses, according to a recent joint newspaper poll of about 100 executives in each country. About 79% of respondents from Japan, 73% from China and 81% from South Korea said the trade war will deal a blow to their operations, according ... Read More »

Korea’s foreign reserves hit record high in Dec.


South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves reached a record high level in December, amid a weakening US dollar trend, the central bank said Friday. The total amount of foreign currency holdings stood at $403.69 billion as of the end of December, up $710 million from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea. This renewed an earlier record of $403 ... Read More »

Smuggling charges cap chaotic year for family behind Korea’s flagship airline


The matriarch behind Korea’s largest airline and her two daughters are facing arrest on smuggling charges, capping a tumultuous year for Korean Air and raising new questions over the airline’s future. The Korea Customs Service has requested that prosecutors indict Lee Myung-hee, the wife of Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of the Hanjin Group, which controls the airline, for allegedly smuggling ... Read More »

S.Korea’s SK Innovation bets on Europe, China electric vehicle demand


South Korea’s SK Innovation, a supplier of electric vehicle (EV) batteries to Daimler and Volkswagen, aims to boost production capacity more than tenfold by 2022, betting on global demand. The company expects the battery business to break even in 2020, a senior manager said at a news conference on Wednesday at the company’s plant in Seosan, a three-hour drive from ... Read More »

Korea household debt ratio up, financial system stable: central bank


SEOUL: South Korea’s financial system is stable and resilient against shocks but efforts to curb household debt need to continue as debts keep growing faster than income, the central bank said in a report. The country’s household debt grew 6.7 percent by the end of September over a year earlier, beating a 4.0 percent gain in disposable income, the Bank ... Read More »

Korea condemns US sanctions, warns denuclearization at risk


SEOUL: North Korea on condemned the US administration for stepping up sanctions and pressure on the nuclear-armed country, warning of a return to “exchanges of fire” and that disarming Pyongyang could be blocked forever. The North’s stinging response came after the United States said on Monday it had introduced sanctions on three North Korean officials, including a top aide to ... Read More »

Valued at over $1.2 billion, Toss is Korea’s first fintech unicorn


It’s taken a while, but South Korea now has a fintech unicorn. Viva Republica, the parent of the financial services platform Toss, announced on Monday (Dec. 10) that it has closed an $80 million funding round that values the firm at $1.2 billion. Toss was rolled out in 2015 as a peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service by Lee Seung-gun, a former ... Read More »

Ship sanctioned for Korean coal smuggling docks in China


A vessel sanctioned for smuggling North Korean coal docked at a Chinese port last week, despite its UN designation requiring it be prohibited from using foreign ports. The 10,000 tonne, formerly Panamanian-flagged, Hua Fu was sanctioned by the UN in March for its role exporting DPRK coal from North Korea to Vietnam numerous times in 2017. “The Hua Fu loitered ... Read More »