There are many cases in which Koreans are unaware of the country’s true capabilities and status. The competitiveness of the biohealth industry is one of them. Last year, Korea occupied two thirds of the global biosimilar market share in the pharmaceutical field, and it holds the world’s second largest production capacity of biomedicine. That same year, Korea’s exports of new drug technologies quadrupled from a year earlier, amounting to 5.4 trillion won. In the field of medical equipment, Korea possesses a world-class competitiveness edge – ranking No.1 in ultrasound imaging systems in obstetrics and gynecology and No. 5 in dental implant products.
Moreover, when it comes to the foundation of the biohealth industry, Korea has built quality infrastructure, including the world’s best ICT network, healthcare system and data.
On May 14, Korea became the seventh country that the EU placed on its white list of those approved for importation of active substances. Korean exporters will now be exempted from the requirement to provide good manufacturing practice certification for pharmaceuticals shipped to the EU.
Our capabilities to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients and manage their quality have been recognized worldwide, which will go a long way toward expanding the export of domestic pharmaceuticals and promoting the growth of related industries. Although a lot remains to be done, my Administration has justifiably designated the biohealth industry as a new growth engine. I request everyone’s best efforts when developing the innovation strategy for the biohealth industry to be announced shortly – for instance, by holding a meeting of relevant ministers.
Last month saw the domestic sales and exports of eco-friendly automobiles grow 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, year on year. From January to April this year, both their domestic sales and exports have increased by about 30 percent compared to last year. Through all of this, we can verify the fact that the Government's financial investment and policy support are playing a significant role in advancing the progress of future industries in their initial stages.
In that sense, it is truly regrettable that the National Assembly has yet to deliberate on the Government's supplementary budget bill even after it was tendered nearly a month ago. With the National Assembly continuing to be deadlocked, the Administration has not even been afforded the chance to deliver an address there.
The supplementary budget this time comprises responses to the current economic situation and countermeasures for such disasters as fine dust, the wildfire in Gangwon-do Province and the earthquake in Pohang. Everything in it is urgent. The urgency of allocating funds for disaster countermeasures is not denied by anyone even among those in politics, and no one can deny the desperate need for fiscal stimulus to spur the current economy into recovery from negative GDP growth in the first quarter.
As you all know, the International Monetary Fund recommended a 9-trillion-won supplementary budget package on the grounds that Korea has enough room for fiscal maneuvering, but the amount proposed in the Government’s supplementary budget bill is much smaller than the IMF’s recommendation. Since the people are very concerned about the economy, I ask the National Assembly to share their concerns and review and pass the bill as quickly as possible so that the supplementary budget can take effect on time without losing any opportunities.
Most of all, I earnestly urge the National Assembly to support the Government’s efforts to breathe vitality into the Korean economy as part of the efforts to respond to worsening global economic conditions.