SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- Exports from South Korea's free trade zones grew 34.4 percent on-year to hit an all-time high last year, the industry ministry said Monday.
Outbound shipments from the districts came to US$14.7 billion, compared with $10.94 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The figure has surpassed the $10-billion mark for the second consecutive year.
The country operates 13 free trade zones across the country, including the western city of Incheon and the southeastern port city of Busan, to promote exports and foreign investment by offering eased regulations and other benefits.
A total of 1,181 domestic and foreign companies had run businesses there as of the end of last year.
Their combined sales accounted for 2.15 percent of the country's total exports last year.
The proportion has been on a constant increase in recent years from 0.47 percent in 2019 to 1.13 percent in 2020 and to 1.7 percent in 2021, according to the data.
The stellar performance in exports from the zones is attributable to strong demand for semiconductors, electric and electronic goods, and vehicles, among other things, the ministry said.
In 2022, South Korea's exports grew 6.1 percent on-year to reach a record high of $683.9 billion, but the government forecast a 4.5 percent on-year fall in exports in 2023 on a global economic slowdown.