South Korea attracted far higher foreign direct investment in the first quarter of 2012 as investors positioned to take advantage of the recent U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA).
The FTA, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2011, came into effect last month, and the removal of tariffs for many sectors is already seeing investors move to establish operations in Korea to access U.S. markets.
Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said FDI soared to $2.34 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 17 percent from a year earlier and the highest quarterly total since 2008. Last year FDI grew at just 4.6 percent year-over-year.
FDI from Japan, boosted by the strong yen, increased 150 percent to $919 million, while Chinese and EU investments rose by 47 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
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