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Seoul (VNA) - Parts exports of the Republic of Korea grew at a solid pace in the first quarter of this year on the back of strong demand for electronics parts and petrochemical products, according to Yonhap news agency.

Outbound shipments of parts and materials reached 74.4 billion USD in the first three months of this year, up 13.3 percent from a year earlier, the news agency quoted the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying.

Imports of parts and materials also rose 43.6 billion USD, with the trade surplus reaching a record high of 30.8 billion USD.

Exports of electronics parts, including memory chips, gained 24.9 percent on-year to 31.3 billion USD, and those of petrochemical products surged 15.6 percent to 12.2 billion USD.

In contrast, shipments of auto parts declined 12 percent on sluggish sales of the RoK’s vehicles in major markets, including the United States and China.

By country, exports to China, the RoK's largest trading partner, gained 18.5 percent, led by electronics parts and petrochemical products. Sales in Europe and Southeast Asian nations rose 25.3 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, Yonhap reported.-VNA