South Koreaâ€™s textile and clothing imports touch $14.66 billion mark, an increase by 8.4 percent in 2014 of which 45 percent of these imports (valued at $6.59 billion) came from China, according to figures released Tuesday by the Korean International Trade Association.
The country could soon post a trade deficit in an industry that used to be a major growth driver for its economy.
The countryâ€™s textile and clothing exports decreased last year by 0.1 percent to $15.94 billion, narrowing the industryâ€™s surplus by $1.28 billion, about 50 percent less than the surplus amount in 2013.
This is not a new development as the trade surplus has been declining since 1998 when it was at a peak high of $14.04 billion.
South Korea's textile and clothing industry, which played a major role in the country's initial industrialisation. However, there has been a decline in the number of operations and employees in recent years due to labour shortages, rising costs and growth in competition from other Asian countries with far lower production costs.
There is downward trend seen in exports of textiles and clothing as several factories due to high production costs in South Korea are choosing to relocate to China and Vietnam.
Despite these challenges, the textile industry remains an important sector in the country.
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