The report said that China's reopening is likely to increase Korea's exports by an additional 0.55 percentage point and its economic growth by 0.16 percentage point in 2023.
"China's economic slowdown was cited as one of the major reasons for Korea's sluggish exports to China last year," the report said. However, it forecast that Korea's weak exports will see a turnaround this year if China logs a robust economic recovery.
Last December, China scrapped its draconian "zero COVID-19" policy, shifting to a gradual return to normal life. The policy change has raised expectations about the country's reopening and economic recovery.
Against this backdrop, major research institutes estimated China's economic growth rate at 5.1 percent last year, far higher than the average global growth rate of 3 percent.
The KITA forecast that the Chinese economy will record a relatively high growth rate of 6.1 percent in the second quarter of this year after posting 2.1 percent in the first quarter.
Kang Nae-young, a senior researcher at the KITA, said that South Korea needs to use China's reopening as an opportunity to make up for last year's poor performance in exports. He stressed the importance of increasing exports of Korean consumer goods, including cosmetics and home appliances, to China to make an inroad deeper into the domestic Chinese market.
Kang also called on Korean firms to actively participate in exhibitions and make efforts to improve the image of their products in order to expand exports of semiconductors, petrochemicals, auto parts, and machinery goods.
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