Hello. As everybody knows, exports and domestic demand are the two pillars that shore up our economy. In fact, however, neither is in a good situation. Exports have fallen sharply in April, May and June compared to the same months last year. One silver lining is that the decreases are becoming smaller than before, and thus, we expect significant improvements in the second half.
Yet another element that brings us comfort is that our country is faring relatively well among the major exporters around the world. Korea ranked seventh last year but is the sixth-largest exporter this year. Going forward, the Government will continue to work with respect to companies to help export growth accelerate.
However, no matter how hard we try, there is a limit to how much we can speed up export recovery on our own; the economic situation in other countries must be normalized. But, with domestic demand, we can make a difference through our own efforts. The emergency relief payments distributed to all citizens a while ago boosted consumption considerably. Distributors, small businesses in residential neighborhoods, traditional markets and the local economies benefitted significantly from these payments.
Now, the effect of the emergency relief payments is waning slightly. If we think of emergency relief payments as the first runner in a relay to promote consumption, the current Republic of Korea All-together Sale is the second runner. If the third supplementary budget is passed, it could become the third runner that boosts consumption and promotes economic recovery.
As you know, the world economy is experiencing a severe downturn now. Amid such circumstances, however, Korea is regarded as one of the countries least affected economically from COVID-19, and it is expected to have the fastest economic recovery. This is the common assessment of many international organizations such as the IMF and OECD.
One organization even called Korea a “notable outlier.” There are two factors. The first is our success with infectious disease control and prevention. Unlike other countries, we did not close the border, impose regional lockdowns or restrict people’s movements. In other words, Korea has been evaluated as a nation that effectively succeeded in epidemic prevention without stopping the economy.
The people deserve much credit for this. I can say that the quickest shortcut to economic recovery in the future is success with epidemic prevention. It may be a little tedious, a little tiresome and difficult, nevertheless I would like to ask you to strive with the Government in order to make our infectious disease prevention and control a success.
In the economy too, I hope that our people become the principal agents and lead a rapid recovery going forward, just as they have facilitated our success with epidemic prevention.
The Republic of Korea All-together Sale is an opportunity for our consumers to personally look over high-quality products and purchase them at affordable prices. The more you spend, the greater the impact will be in reviving our economy. I’d like to point out that while reducing consumption and saving money were once considered acts of patriotism, now spending is.
I’m asking many of you to participate. Thank you.