S. Korea’s trade deficit in intellectual property rights widens in 2020

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s deficit in the trade of intellectual property rights widened in 2020 from a year earlier as patent payments by firms increased, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The nation’s deficit in the intellectual property account came to US$1.87 billion last year, compared with a shortfall of $530 million in 2019, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Its exports of products and services subject to intellectual property right payments reached $15.53 billion in 2020, slightly up from $15.41 billion the previous year. Its imports rose to $17.4 billion from $15.9 billion.

The BOK said the rise in the deficit came as conglomerates’ payments of patents on tech products increased.

By country, South Korea posted a shortfall of $3.84 billion in the trade of intellectual property rights with the United States.

South Korea also logged a trade deficit with Japan last year. The shortfall came to $350 million, smaller than a deficit of $780 million the previous year.

South Korea posted a trade surplus in intellectual property rights with China and Vietnam. Its surplus with China widened to $2.59 billion from $2.02 billion the previous year. South Korea also logged a surplus of $1.77 billion with Vietnam.