Emerging countries launched dozens of new investigations against goods from South Korea in line with growing protectionism around the globe, data showed Monday.
Such countries accounted for 34 of the 41 new trade investigation cases against Asia's No. 4 economy in 2019, according to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
The United States launched five new investigations against South Korea, with Australia and the European Union taking up one each. Emerging nations took up 17 of the 25 new probes in 2018.
India launched a whopping 12 new investigations against South Korean goods last year, including on steel and rubber products.
"India is taking various actions, including safeguard measures, by utilizing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)," KITA said in a report.
KITA said India is expected to enforce more trade regulations for the time being.
South Korea and India implemented CEPA, a type of free trade agreement that emphasizes two-way economic cooperation on top of opening markets, in January 2010.
By products, steel and metal products accounted for 14 cases, followed by chemical goods with eight cases. Plastic and rubber goods took up five.
In 2019, South Korea faced a total of 207 trade barriers, including those under investigation, up 13 from a year earlier. Emerging nations took up 139, while advanced economies accounted for 68.
South Korea has been making efforts to penetrate deeper into emerging nations in line with its efforts to revitalize its ailing exports.
Last year, South Korea's exports dipped more than 10 percent due to the falling global price of memory chips. The country plans to seek a rebound this year, but the global outbreak of the new coronavirus has made the goal less feasible.