Like other small trade-oriented countries, the Republic of
Korea is very sensitive to economic impulses form abroad.
Because of its early stage of industrial development, Korea is
much more susceptible to these impulses than are its major
trading partners. Although Korea's share of world exports has
risen remarkably form 0.34 percent in 1971 to about 0.80 percent
in 1976, Korea is likely to remain primarily an impulse taker
rather than an impulse maker in the world for some time to
Between 1970 and 1976, international involvement of the
Korean economy- as reflected in the ratio of exports to gross
national product- rose very rapidly: total exports of goods and
services increased from 16.5 percent of GNP to 37.7 percent.
Koreas most extensive trade was with the Pacific basin
countries, which in 1976 purchased approximately two-thirds of
its total exports. The Unites Stated and Japan were by far the
most important trade partners, accounting, respectively, for 32.3
percent and 23.4 percent of Korea's total exports and 22.4
percent and 35.3 percent of its total imports. Japan in the early
1970s became a vital source of capital equipment and
semifinished ray materials for Korean industries.