Exports by companies in South Korea's free trade zones surpassed ten billion U.S. dollars for the first time to hit an all-time high last year.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Sunday, outbound shipments of companies in the zones came to ten-point-94 billion dollars in 2021, up 89-point-six percent from a year earlier.
It marks the first time for the combined annual exports to surpass ten billion dollars after the nation designated its first free trade zone in the southeastern city Masan in 1970.
The figure, which stood at around 300 million dollars in 1976, topped one billion dollars in 1986 and five billion dollars in 2008.
Last year's surge is attributed to the recovery in the manufacturing industry, including semiconductors and electronics, and rising demand in products related to COVID-19.
Currently, the nation operates a total of 13 free trade zones, which accounted for one-point-seven percent of the nation's total exports last year.