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Korea to promote SME exporters

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Published : 2014-02-24 20:11
Updated : 2014-02-24 20:11

South Korea will seek to increase exports by small and medium-sized enterprises and expand its trade territory around the globe through new free trade deals, the government said Monday.

In an annual policy report to the president, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will also work to boost the country’s overall exports to over $600 billion, up 7.21 percent from a record high of $559.6 billion posted in 2013.

To help exports of SMEs, the government will increase the size of its trade finance program for small firms to 77.4 trillion won ($72.2 billion) in 2014 from 73.8 trillion won last year.

It will also launch a new website that provides full, comprehensive information from the country’s 34 trade support organizations, such as the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and the Korea International Trade Association.

This will enable a one-stop service for firms that are currently in or seeking to start exporting business, according to Lee Kwan-sup, the head of the ministry’s industrial policy bureau. (Yonhap)

Such efforts are partly aimed at distributing the country’s gains from trade to the people.

“The country’s trade volume breached the $1 trillion mark for the third consecutive year in 2013 while its exports also continued to grow,” Lee said in a press briefing held earlier.

“But such growths in trade and exports have somewhat failed to prompt a rise in domestic consumption or job creation.”

The ministry said its support for SMEs will help increase the number of small and medium-sized exporters to over 100,000 in 2017 from 87,000 in 2013 while raising the number of firms with over $100 million in annual exports to 400 from 240 over the cited period.

The ministry’s efforts for exports growth will include the development of new growth engines.

“Our companies, in general, are exporting the same products that they have exported over the past 10 years. Simply put, we are not seeing the emergence of any new and strong industry,” the ministry official said.

To this end, the government has identified 13 most promising new products, including wearable smart devices, self-driving cars and offshore plants for extreme weather conditions.

“This year, the government plans to create new growth engines by actively and systematically moving forward with the 13 industrial development projects that were identified in December,” the ministry said.

In addition, the government will create a 1.2 trillion won fund by 2021 for the commercialization of newly developed products and technologies, it said.

To help promote the country’s overall trade relations, the government will push to conclude its ongoing negotiations for bilateral free trade agreements with China, Australia, Canada and New Zealand at the earliest date possible. South Korea will also launch FTA talks with Vietnam for conclusion before the year’s end, the ministry said.

The additional FTAs, if implemented, would expand the country’s so-called global FTA territory from the current 55 percent of the world market to 71 percent, it said. (Yonhap)