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Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador YI Hong-ku chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600 FAX: [1] (202) 387-0205 consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen W. BOSWORTH embassy: 82 Sejong-Ro, Chongro-ku, Seoul mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 15550, APO AP 96205-0001 telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114 FAX: [82] (2) 738-8845

Flag description: white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field


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Economyoverview: As one of the Four Dragons of East Asia, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth. Three decades ago its GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP per capita is seven times India's, 13 times North Korea's, and already near the lesser economies of the European Union. This success through the late 1980s was achieved by a system of close government business ties, including directed credit, import restrictions, sponsorship of specific industries, and a strong labor effort. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed certain longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model, including high debt/equity ratios, massive foreign borrowing, and an undisciplined financial sector. By the end of 1998 it had recovered financial stability, rebuilding foreign exchange reserves to record levels by running a current account surplus of $40 billion. As of December 1998, the first tentative signs of a rebound in the economy emerged, and most forecasters expect GDP growth to turn positive at least in the second half of 1999. Seoul has also made a positive start on a program to get the country's largest business groups to swap subsidiaries to promote specialization, and the administration has directed many of the mid-sized conglomerates into debt-workout programs with creditor banks. Challenges for the future include cutting redundant staff, which reaches 20%-30% at most firms and maintaining the impetus for structural reform.

GDP: purchasing power parity$584.7 billion (1998 est.)

GDPreal growth rate: -6.8% (1998 est.)

GDPper capita: purchasing power parity$12,600 (1998 est.)

GDPcomposition by sector: agriculture: 6% industry: 43% services: 51% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.5% (1998)

Labor force: 20 million

Labor forceby occupation: services and other 52%, mining and manufacturing 27%, agriculture, fishing, forestry 21% (1991)

Unemployment rate: 7.9% (1998)

Budget: revenues: $100.4 billion expenditures: $100.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing

Industrial production growth rate: 3.1% (1997 est.)

Electricityproduction: 194.163 billion kWh (1996)

Electricityproduction by source: fossil fuel: 61.18% hydro: 2.65% nuclear: 36.17% other: 0% (1996)

Electricityconsumption: 194.163 billion kWh (1996)

Electricityexports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricityimports: 0 kWh (1996)

Agricultureproducts: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish

Exports: $133 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exportscommodities: electronic and electrical equipment, machinery, steel, automobiles, ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish

: 1/11/2007