S. Korea logs record low trade deficit in IP rights in 2021

SEOUL-- South Korea's deficit in the trade of intellectual property rights touched a record low in 2021 on increased exports of cultural content, central bank data showed Friday.

The nation's deficit in the intellectual property account stood at US$30 million last year, compared with a $2.02 billion shortfall in 2020, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Exports of products and services subject to intellectual property right payments came to $20.86 billion, up from $15.42 billion from a year earlier, with imports rising to $20.89 billion from $17.44 billion.

It marks the lowest red ink in the trade of intellectual property rights since data tracking began in 2010.

The central bank said the tumble in the deficit came as the country posted a big surplus in copyright trade thanks to the overseas popularity of boy group BTS, Korean dramas and movies, and webtoons.

South Korea registered the largest surplus of $750 million in the trade of cultural and art copyrights, up from $70 million in the black a year earlier.

The surplus in the trade of copyrights related to software and research and development also surged to $1.7 billion from $1.57 billion over the cited period.

By country, South Korea chalked up a shortfall of $3.03 billion in the trade of intellectual property rights with the United States last year. It also posted a shortfall of $990 million with Britain and a deficit of $580 million with Japan.

South Korea posted a trade surplus of $2.58 billion in intellectual property rights with China in 2021, down slightly from a $2.59 billion surplus a year earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency