South Korean exporters are facing growing protectionism as economies around the globe, in particular those in developing countries, still struggle to shield their local industries from a prolonged economic slowdown and surge in foreign imports, industry data showed Sunday.
According to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), a total of 34 import restrictions, including anti-dumping measures, were newly imposed on South Korean-made goods by 17 countries last year, the highest since 2002 when local exporters had 36 similar cases.
Of the restrictions, 24 cases were related to anti-dumping probes and nine to safeguard measures, South Korea's News Agency (Yonhap) reported.
Steel and petrochemical sectors, in particular, were most involved in trade rows with 13 cases and 10 cases, respectively, as their price competitiveness improved in overseas markets on expanded output capacity, according to the data.
"Developing countries are accelerating moves to restrict imports of South Korean goods, which sharply expanded their presence in some regions," said an official at KITA.
The data also showed developing countries imposed a total of 23 import restrictions, while the US and other developed nations made up the rest.
As of last year, South Korea's exporters were engaged in a total of 141 trade tussles, with 110 protectionism measures raised by developing countries.