PRODUCTION AND COMMERCE
1895, A similar concession has been granted to a Russian subject in Ham Kyeng, and another to a German company at Chemulpo, Gold has been hitherto ol)tained in Korea only by surface washing.
In 1876 Korea concluded a treaty with Japan ; in 1882 China (Trade and Frontier Regulations) and the United States ; in 1883 Germany and Great Britain; in 1884 Italy and Russia; in 1886 France; in 1892 Austria. An overland Trade Convention has been concluded with Russia, whose frontier is separated from that of Korea by the Tinmen River. By virtue of these treaties Seoul and the three ports of Inch'yen(Chemuli)o), Fusan, and Wonsan are open to foreign commerce. The ports of Chinnampo and ^lokpo were opened to foreign trade on October 1, 1897, and have attracted Japanese and Chinese settlers. In May, 1898, Kun San, Songchin, Masanpo, and Ping Yang were declared open, but no steps have yet (October, 1898) been taken to give effect to the Resolution.
The total value of the trade (merchandise only) at the open ports has been as follows : —
1894 1 1895
Imports . Exports .
Dollars 5,660,434 1,698,116
Dollars 6,941,273 3,456,140
Dollars 8,084,465 2,481,808
Dollars 10,067,514 8,973,895 |
The imports in 1897 were : cotton goods, value 5,064,926 dollars ; woollen goods, 60, '714 dollars; metals, 556,025 dollars; kerosene, 531,768 dollars ; silk piece goods, 548,445 dollars ; grass cloths and matches. The chief exports were: rice, 5,558,780 dollars; beans, value 1,710,121 dollars; cow-hides, 187,627 dollars; ginseng, 632,441 dollars ; fish, 330,828 dollars ; wheat, 190,475 dollars.
The actual trade is much greater than that stated. The statistics refer only to the open ports, at which a customs service has been established. No account is taken of the trade at non-treaty ports, or of that on the Russian and Chinese frontiers, or of the under-valuation of imports owing to "ad valorem " duties. About 60 per cent, (in value) of the imports were formerly goods of British manufacture, and 30 per cent. Chinese and Japanese, but the trade in Japanese cotton goods is steadily increasing, the value in 1S97 amounting to 1,914,298 dollars. In addition to the exports mentioned above, gold was exported to China and Japan (exclusive of clandestine shipments to the amount of 1,390,000 dollars in 1396 ; 2,034,079 dollars in 1897.
The number of vessels entering from foreign countries was in 1896, 1,720 of 499,160 tons, of which 13 of 14,651 tons were British ; in 1897, 2,417, of 601,275 tons, of which 14 of 13,794 were British.
Transport in the interior is by porters, pack-horses and oxen. Improve- " ments in road-making are being carried out in and about Seoul. Small river steamers, owned by Japanese, run on the Han River between Chemulpo and Seoul. A railway from Chemulpo to Seoul has been begun by an American syndicate and should be completed by March, 1899. A French company has obtained the concession of a proposed railway between Seoul and Wiju on the Chinese frontier. A telegraph line in Japanese hands connects Seoul with Fusan and Chemulpo, whence there is a cable to Nagasaki ; the Korean government has acquired the line between Seoul and Wiju connecting with the Chinese system. They have also lines from Seoul to Wonsan Chemulpo, and Fusan. A Korean post-office has been established, and letters