SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) — China’s imports of South Korean products last year stayed nearly the same as the previous year despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, a report showed Sunday, as the world’s second-largest economy bought more consumer goods like cosmetics.

China imported US$173.5 billion worth of goods from South Korea in 2020, only 0.03 percent down from 2019, according to the report from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

South Korea was the third-largest exporter to China last year behind Taiwan, which sold $202.1 billion worth of goods there, and Japan, which shipped $176.1 billion worth of products, KOTRA said.

China spent $10 million or more on 59 items each from South Korea last year, with the value of its imports exceeding $100 million for the top six products each.

This photo taken March 2, 2021, shows container ships docked at a port in Busan. (Yonhap)

Cosmetics, including skin care products and facial mask sheets, were the top purchased item by China with a value of $3.13 billion, up 7.6 percent from a year ago.

China’s imports of South Korean cosmetics have been increasing steadily over the past few years, rising from $2.54 billion in 2018 and $2.91 billion in 2019.

Facial masks were China’s second-largest imported item from South Korea as its value reached $220 million last year, up from $6 million a year earlier, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Instant noodles came in third at $150 million, followed by foam cleaners and hand sanitizers at $126 million.

KOTRA said China’s imports of clothing-related goods also increased sharply last year. The total import value of such products stood at $480 million last year, up 101.9 percent from a year ago, which was the largest growth among the top 10 clothing-related product sellers to China.