SEJONG, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea seeks to boost its shipments of end-products, such as consumer goods, to China as a way of reducing the dependence of its exports on China's finished goods, government officials said Tuesday.
The move comes as the country's exports to China plunged 9.4 percent from the same month last year to US$11.31 billion in May, marking the first on-year monthly drop since February 2013, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Such a drop was attributed to China's own shrinking exports, which tumbled 6.6 percent on-year in March.
Ministry officials said the country's exports are bound to be affected by the exports and economic conditions of China, the world's largest importer of South Korean products, which purchased 26.1 percent of South Korea's overall outbound shipments last year.
They, however, noted the country's exports are even more dependent on China's own exports as goods in process, such as industrial parts and materials, currently account for more than half of South Korea's exports to China.
To help expand shipments of end-products, especially consumer goods, to China, a series of product fairs promoting various South Korean products, ranging from automobiles and food to machinery and baby products, are scheduled to be held in China this year.
The officials said a free trade agreement (FTA) with China will also help boost the country's exports to China.
South Korea and China have held 11 rounds of FTA negotiations, with the latest round held in China's Sichuan province last week. The negotiations for a bilateral FTA began in May 2012.
The countries are moving to conclude their FTA negotiations before the end of this year.
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