South Korea is believed to be one of the most successful countries in Asia. In recent years, Korea's economy moved away from the centrally planned, government-directed investment model toward a more market-oriented one, and as a result, their market situation has steadily improved. In a press release dated February 4, 2005, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Lee Hun-jai said, "The economy continues to improve especially when compared to data from last year" (http://english.mofe.go.kr). According to an article in the Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition), Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) ranked tenth in the world in 2004 and they have become the tenth largest global economy (http://english.chosun.com). Korea's export volume was recorded as ninth in the world, exceeding export volumes of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Hong Kong.
Mining, manufacturing, and the construction industries account for a large portion of the economic output for South Korea. Exports were up 19.5
percent in December 2004 and 18.5 percent in January 2005. This upward movement is expected to reach at least US$20 billion a month until at least July 2005. Exports of goods and services represent more than one-third of the country's GNP. Overseas construction contracts, particularly in the Middle East, awarded to South Korean firms have been an important source of foreign exchange. Major exports include machinery, textiles, transport equipment, and clothing and footwear. Machinery, mineral fuels, and manufactured goods are the major imports. South Korea has had increasing success in exporting its manufactures to developed countries. Its principal trading partners include the United States, Japan, members of the European Union, and Southeast Asian countries. South Korea has engaged in trade with North Korea since 1990.
Korea's status as an importer ranks them twelfth in the world and their consumer base offers enormous advantages to investors. This nation's consumer...