Korea remains strong in industrial competitiveness

PHOTO: Korea remains strong in industrial competitiveness

Korea's strong trade and industrial competitiveness stayed intact last year, while there was a wide gap between Korea and developed nations in the labour and social sectors, according to a statistics book released by the Korea International Trade Association on Sunday.

According to "Korea Mirrored in Statistics," based on a variety of international data and publications, Korea was the world's 12th largest economy based on gross domestic production and 8th largest global trade powerhouse last year.

In addition, Korea's industrial competitiveness, driven by six key manufacturing sectors, including handsets, cars and ships, remained strong last year.

The statistics book showed Korea was ranked first in handset production last year, driven by the global popularity of Samsung handsets.

Korea became world's fifth largest car producing country last year and it was the third largest steel product exporter in the world.

The country, home to global-top-three shipbuilding brands-Hyundai Heavy Industries, DSME and Samsung Heavy Industries, took the second spot in the global ranking for ship orders in 2012.

In contrast with strength in the economy, Korea fell far behind other developed nations in the labour and social sectors.

The KITA publication showed Koreans still work long hours. Korea's annual average working hours per person in 2011 were second longest, posting 2,090 hours following Mexico with 2,226 hours.

Korea performed relatively poorly in female labour force utilization. Its global ranking in female employment rate stood at 25th last year.

Korea has many things to do to improve national transparency and to raise global leaders.

The country also didn't perform well in the global transparency index as it was ranked 30th in a 2013 country transparency index survey by the International Institute for Development Management, the KITA publication said.

In a global survey of international experiences of senior managers by country, which was also conducted by IMD this year, Korea was placed 41st.