SEOUL, July 6 (UPI) -- South Korea fears the trade dispute between the United States and China, which escalated Friday, will bring an impact on its economy heavily dependent on exports to both countries.
United States-imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods took effect Friday, and the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced it would "make a necessary counterattack."
"The trade dispute between China and the U.S., the two biggest export destinations of South Korea, has intensified and the uncertainty over our economy has heightened as export industries raise concerns," Baek Woon-kyu, minister of trade, industry and energy, said at a government-expert meeting discussing the impact of the trade dispute, Newsis reported.
Baek predicted the conflict would not have an immediate impact on the level of South Korean exports to the two countries.
South Korea's state-run Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade estimated Seoul's exports to China and the United States would fall by $190 million and $50 million, respectively, if the two countries impose higher tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports.
The privately-run Hyundai Research Institute predicted the dispute would reduce South Korea's exports to China by $28.2 billion, and 20 percent of the total South Korean exports to China.
"Initially, people expected the trade dispute will be resolved at an earlier stage, but things are moving unexpected, which makes us hard to make an accurate prediction," said Park Jin-woo of the Korea International Trade Association in the meeting, Yonhap reported.
The Hyundai Research Institute predicted in its March report South Korea's export-oriented economy will suffer from the intensifying global trade dispute, and a decrease in exports would disrupt economic growth and reduce employment.
South Korean stocks and local currency fell last month amid concerns over the trade war.