Exports of made-in-Korea laundry machines are growing, particularly to Australia and New Zealand, despite a world economy that is still struggling to find solid growth. According to statistics released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) on May 3, free trade agreements (FTAs) signed with countries in Oceania have contributed to the growth in home appliance exports.
According to the statistics, shipments to countries that signed an FTA with Korea in the first quarter of the year increased 16.3% year-on-year to USD 25.5 million, from USD 21.9 million the year earlier, even though the entire volume of home appliance exports over the same period decreased by 3.4% year-on-year, to USD 34,000,000. Export growth to Australia and New Zealand were particularly significant. Exports to the two Antipodean countries in the first quarter this year were worth some USD 6.2 million, an increase of 176% year-on-year.
Exports to Australia in the first quarter were worth USD 5.7 million, an increase of 164% year-on-year. This makes the country the second largest export destination for Korea-made laundry machines. The growth is believed to be tied to the Korea-Australia FTA that has now been in effect since December 2014. The agreement included an immediate elimination of a 5 percent tariff, which was a trigger for Korea's export growth. In 2015, immediately following the agreement going into effect, exports to Australia increased to USD 16.0 million, from USD 12.1 million in 2014, an increase of 32.1 percent.
Exports to New Zealand in the first quarter increased as well, and the Korea-New Zealand FTA has been in effect since December 2015. Korea's laundry machine export figures in the first quarter were worth some USD 430,000, a 676 percent increase yea-on-year. The first quarter of 2016 has so far seen nearly half of the entire laundry machine exports of USD 890,000 to the country in 2015.
Finally, exports to Iran, one of Korea's top-three export destinations, were worth USD 8.0 million in 2015, a 77 percent decrease from the USD 35.0 million seen over the past three years.