Korea-India Economic Relations
(As of 2021)
Korea and India have a strong economic partnership that is rapidly expanding. According to data from Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), bilateral trade between the two countries reached $23.7 billion in 2021, surpassing $21.5 billion in 2018. This was the highest-ever trade volume between the two countries, representing a 40% increase over the previous year's total of $16.9 billion. Korea's exports to India increased by 30.7 percent to $15.6 billion, while imports increased by 64.4 percent to $8.1 billion, resulting in a $7.5 billion trade surplus. This increase in exports and imports was aided by a rebound in economic activity and industrial output during July to December period. The trade volume increased from $10.97 billion in the first half (January-June) to $12.69 billion in the second half (July-December).
Korea's exports to India have risen above the pre-pandemic level. In 2021, it was worth $15.60 billion, which was the second-highest export value since 2018 when it stood at $15.61 billion. The average monthly export value reached around $1.4 billion in the second half of 2021, with a monthly export high of $1.5 billion in September. Furthermore, exports increased by 24 percent to $8.2 billion from July to December, up from $6.6 billion in the same period last year. The top ten Korean exports to India registered double digits or triple digits growth due to high demand for infrastructure-related items such as steel and mineral fuels. The steel showed a triple-digit growth from May to August (431% in May, 209% in June, 324% in July, and 121% in August) compared to the same period in the previous year.
Korea's imports from India in 2021 set a new record of $8.06 billion, making it the country's highest annual imports from India. In fact, its monthly imports surpassed $700 million for the first time in March and reached $4.49 billion in the second half of 2021 (July-December). In 2021, all major imported items from India showed a significant increase. In particular, iron ore and aluminum imports experienced triple-digit growth rates of 215.5% and 143.6 %, respectively.
[Korea-India Bilateral Trade in 2021]
(Amount in US$ millions, YoY %)
[Korea-India Bilateral Trade 2015-2021]
(Amount in US$ 100millions, YoY %)
According to data from the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Korean investment in India amounted to $226 million as of September 2021. Korea invested $96 million in the first quarter (Jan-Mar), $37 million in the second quarter (Apr-Jun), and $93 million in the third quarter (Jul-Sep) of 2021.
[Korea’s FDI to India 2013-2021]
(Amount in US$ Millions)
India's investment in Korea reached $2.02 million in 2021, a modest increase from $1.43 million in 2020. India invested $180,000 in the first quarter (Jan-Mar), $440,000 in the second quarter (Apr-Jun), $170,000 in the third quarter (Jul-Sep) and 1.22 million in the fourth quarter (Oct-Dec). Indian investment in Korea only had a temporary surge in 2013 and 2019 due to Mahindra and Mahindra’s investment in Ssangyong Motor.
[India’s FDI to Korea 2013-2021]
(Amount in US$ Millions)