South Korea’s export fell in the first 20 days of January, posting a trade deficit amid higher import, customs office data showed Monday. Outbound shipment came to 13.86 billion U.S. dollars during the Jan. 1-Jan. 10 period, down 0.9 percent compared to the same period of last year, according to Korea Customs Service. The daily average export dwindled 14.1 percent in the 10-day period. The export kept a downward trend for the third consecutive month through December as rising worries about global economic downturn weakened demand for locally-made products. During the 10-day period, semiconductor shipment tumbled 29.5 percent, with those for precision machinery, steel products and home appliances retreating in double figures. Export to the United States and the European Union (EU) gained in double digits, but shipment to Vietnam declined in the period. Import gained 6.3 percent to 20.13 billion dollars in the Jan. 1-Jan. 10 period, sending the trade deficit to 6.27 billion dollars. S.Korea to spend 1.2 bln USD on R&D to nurture 2nd-tier firms: South Korea’s industry ministry said Saturday that it will spend about 1.5 trillion won (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) on research and development (R&D) to nurture second-tier firms for the next 10 years.