The Republic of Korea has been one of the most reliable development partners of Bangladesh and has been extending significant cooperation and support to Bangladesh since the early 1970s. It is one of the major trading partners of Bangladesh. There is a steady increase in bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at approximately USD 1.57 billion. However, Bangladesh’s exports to the ROK is only USD 352.82 million and the trade balance is consistently in favor of the Republic of Korea. The main exporting items of Bangladesh to ROK are-Leather, Woven garments, Jute manufactures, Pharmaceuticals, Jute yarn & twine, other mfd. goods, Knitwear, Footwear (leather & sports), Stainless steel wares, frozen fish, Cap, Copper wire, and raw jute. Major items imported for ROK to Bangladesh are-vegetable products, Live animals, Mineral products, plastic & Articles thereof, Textile & Textile articles, Articles of stone, Machinery & mechanical appliances, Vehicles, aircraft, Optical, Photographic, Footwear, Umbrellas etc.
The Republic of Korea is a pioneer country to invest in Bangladesh and ranks 6th in providing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Korean FDI in Bangladesh continues to increase moderately; gross inflow peaked up to US$ 1122.86 million in December 2018.The Republic of Korea was the first country to set up an exclusive foreign Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Bangladesh and is still one of the top sources of Foreign Direct Investment, especially in textile and garment sector. It is increasingly engaging itself in the infrastructure, energy, ICT and Medical equipment sectors. More than 200 ROK companies have so far invested in Bangladesh. During the visit of the former Korean Premier H.E. Lee-Nak-yon in July 2019, he expressed his interest to make cluster investment in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Bangladesh.
Labor market for Bangladeshi laborers continued to grow under the existing Employment Permit System. Bangladesh has been sending its unskilled workers to the ROK under the Employment Permit System (EPS) since 2008 which has substantially reduced the cost of migration. Approximately 12,000 Bangladeshi contractual employees under EPS are engaged in the manufacturing sector in the Republic of Korea.