The Korea Herald


KOTRA chief says Korea's exports will grow 3.4% in 2017

By KH디지털2

Published : Jan. 25, 2017 - 15:25

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South Korea's exports will likely post positive growth for the first time in three years in 2017, the head of a local trade agency said Wednesday, pledging all-out efforts by his organization to help ensure growth.

"External conditions will likely remain unfavorable for South Korea's exports this year due to Donald Trump's America First policy and China's China Inside policy. Also, with the issue over South Korea's scheduled deployment of a US air defense system, but we can turn a crisis into an opportunity with appropriate and timely measures," Kim Jae-hong, head of the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, said while meeting with reporters.

"Should we find hidden opportunities amid such a rearrangement of the global economy, we may find an exit for our exports," he added.

South Korea's exports dropped 5.9 percent on-year to $495.5 billion last year, marking a second consecutive year of drop following a 7.9-percent plunge the previous year.

Kim said outbound shipments were expected to grow, partly on a low basis effect, as well as an economic recovery in most advanced nations and newly emerging markets that include China and India.

"Also, a recovery in shipments to China and the United States will likely be key to an increase in the country's overall exports," he said, adding shipments to China have remained on the rise since November 2016 while the US economy was expected to expand by over 2 percent this year.

Kim also noted some 720 exporters and foreign importers of South Korean products predicted the country's overall exports to grow 3.4 percent on-year to $512.5 billion in 2017 in a recent survey conducted by KOTRA.

To this end, KOTRA will further enhance its support for local exporters, while also doubling its efforts to develop new exporters.

The agency plans to introduce what it called the "Export Voucher" program, in which local firms will be allowed to choose from a wide range of government and private programs, such as business consultations, that are designed to help boost their exports, and pay for their services in vouchers.

The new program will benefit over 5,300 companies in 2017 alone, the KOTRA chief said.

"We feel a great responsibility in that exports are the first link in a cycle for growth, and that a recovery in exports is the first step out of the low growth trap," Kim said, according to KOTRA.

"We will do our utmost to create a new engine for exports while working closely with other related offices, such as the trade ministry and the Small-Medium Business Administration," he added. (Yonhap)