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Moon calls for ‘unprecedented’ economic measures

President Moon Jae-in speaks at Tuesday`s Cabinet meeting. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in speaks at Tuesday`s Cabinet meeting. Yonhap

President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that he will chair an emergency economic conference, and that all available resources and methods will be mobilized to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Special responses and measures will be decided on quickly, and (the situation) will be dealt with firmly through the emergency economic meeting presided over by the president,” Moon said at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, calling the current economic situation more grievous than the 2008 global financial crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic is fanning concerns about a global economic slowdown, Moon said, calling the situation a “composite crisis” that will impact both the real economy and the financial markets.

“What is more serious is that the world is gripped by fear of the virus, and borders are closed and movement among countries is being cut off,” Moon said, raising concerns that such developments could fundamentally destabilize the global supply chain, leading to a drawn-out economic slowdown.

Describing the emergency economic conference as “the central response headquarters for the economic crisis,” Moon called on the government to take steps to enable the conference to begin as soon as possible.

Moon also urged all government ministries to fully engage with economic issues, calling for “unprecedented measures.”

“Special measures must be rolled out quickly and boldly. As the situation is an unprecedented crisis, so should the response measures be unprecedented,” Moon said, going on to stress that the measures must be executed in a timely fashion.

Moon also hinted at future fiscal measures, such as the expansion of the supplementary budget that was submitted to the National Assembly or an additional supplementary budget, saying the existing supplementary budget was just the beginning.

Economic experts and those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak agree that the measures drawn up to date fall far short of being sufficient, Moon said, adding that there are calls for additional measures.

Moon also said the government must set its priorities, and that related policies must allow individuals and companies most at risk to weather the crisis.

By Choi He-suk (