SEJONG-- South Korea's exports to trade partners with which it has free trade agreements (FTAs) jumped nearly 18 percent in the first six months of the year on solid overseas demand, customs data showed Monday.

Exports to 52 countries that have open trade pacts with South Korea reached US$202.5 billion in the January-June period, up 17.9 percent from $171.6 billion tallied a year ago, according to the data released by the Korea Customs Service.

Imports also rose 17.1 percent on-year to $147.9 billion over the cited period, with a trade surplus hitting $54.6 billion.

Meanwhile, Asia's fourth-largest economy saw its exports expand 15.8 percent on-year to $279.4 billion and imports vault 21 percent to $233.6 billion in the first half on the back of a global trade recovery and a rise in oil prices. The trade surplus stood at $45.8 billion over the six-month period.

South Korea's FTA partner countries, including the United States, China and the European Union, accounted for nearly 70 percent of its total trade.

Source: Yonhap News Agency