Korea’ economy has grown steadily in recent decades to become among the world’ largest. Economic productivity can be measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced by a country in one year. In 2012 South Korea’ GDP was over 1.3 trillion USD. The map below shows each country’ GDP by the area of the circle. The combined GDP of Korea, China, and Japan is similar to the GDP of the United States and to the GDP of Europe.
Many goods made in Korea, such as smart phones, electronic equipment, and automobiles, are shipped to other countries as exports. Korea also imports goods from other countries. The total value of imports and exports has grown dramatically since the early 2000s as shown on the chart below. The map at right shows the values of goods exchanged between Korea and its trading partners around the world. The size of the left half of each circle represents exports from Korea and the right half represents imports to Korea from each country. Korea’ biggest trading partner is China, followed by the US and Japan. Korea currently exports more to China and the US than it imports from them. Thus Korea has a trade surplus with these countries. In contrast, Korea has a trade deficit with Japan, since imports from Japan are greater than exports to Japan. The charts at right show the trends in trade between Korea and its three largest trading partners.