I’m visiting the automobile terminal of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin Port as the first stop on my economic tour in this new Year of the White Rat. Despite the cold weather, many port employees and businesspeople have been working hard from the start of the new year to export automobiles.
Pyeongtaek-Dangjin Port opened for international trade in 1986, but it has grown into a shipping hub that boasts the 4th largest cargo traffic in the country and, in particular, the highest automobile throughput. Geographically, Korea’s closest port to the Yantai Industrial Park on China’s East Coast, the port is serving as a key foothold for trade with China and is also one of Korea’s trade ports looking toward ASEAN.
We are shipping 4,200 automobiles today, including Niro electric vehicles and Neptune hydrogen trucks, to Europe, the home of leading car manufacturers.
The ancient Unified Silla Dynasty embraced the science and technology of the conquered kingdoms of Baekje and Goguryeo to develop what was then the world’s finest knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation. The Dynasty also achieved vibrant maritime trade typified by Jang Bogo. At that time, the name of this city “Dangjin” meant “the dock for ships to Tang” – the dynasty then ruling China. Today’s Pyeongtaek-Dangjin Port has inherited that history. Here, we are spearheading a transformation of the global automobile market and nurturing our dream to become an export powerhouse.
I am very pleased to give bright and hopeful news to the people this day in the new year 2020.
The export of eco-friendly vehicles today is all the more valuable because it marks an achievement made with the world’s best technology.
Kia Motors’ Niro EV exhibits superb performance with a driving range of more than 380 km on a full charge as well as an excellent roomy interior to meet the diverse needs of drivers. It won electric car of the year recognition in Europe and the United States in 2019 – in particular, the Car of the Year Award in the United Kingdom.
The judges for Europe’s best commercial vehicle award, the International Truck of the Year, bestowed the Truck Innovation Award to Hyundai Motor Company’s Hydrogen Mobility Solution for its truck Neptune at their 2020 awards, and a contract to export 1,600 units has already been concluded.
We have succeeded in mass-producing hydrogen-fueled cars for the first time in the world, and one domestic manufacturer’s eco-friendly cars were found to have the world’s best fuel economy. Last year, exports of our electric vehicles more than doubled and those for hydrogen vehicles more than tripled, and the cumulative number of exported eco-friendly vehicles surpassed the 740,000 mark.
Yet another fact in which we can take pride is that the strength of mutual benefit gave birth to the world’s best eco-friendly vehicles.
SMEs and mid-market companies such as INFAC, Woory Industrial and DONG-AH Electric Equipment joined forces to develop core components and improve performance, which led to the birth of the Niro EV. Hyundai Motor Company supplies the hydrogen fuel cell system to SMEs and mid-market businesses that manufacture buses such as Woojin Industrial Systems, Zyle Daewoo Commercial Vehicle and Edison Motors, thereby lending support to the mass-production and widespread use of hydrogen-fueled buses.
With Gwangju-type jobs as a starter last year, mutually beneficial local jobs have been generated in Miryang, Daegu, Gumi, Hoengseong and Gunsan. Just as labor, management, civic groups and local governments created jobs that have brought hope through mutual concessions, the Republic of Korea has been able to emerge as an unmatched global eco-friendly vehicle manufacturer on the strength of cooperation between SMEs and large corporations.
I applaud and compliment the hard work and passion of all of you who have demonstrated that we can become the world’s first and best if we work together.
With that same mindset, the Government will provide active support to ensure that our eco-friendly car industry becomes unrivaled in the world and that an increasing number of our vehicles crisscross the globe.
Last year, the Government made a pledge to emerge by 2030 as the No. 1 country in the world when it comes to the competitiveness of future vehicles.
By 2025, we will invest more than 380 billion won in technology development to help develop the world’s best eco-friendly vehicles.
Domestic companies plan to complete eco-friendly car production lines in all models by 2030. For its part, the Government will create an eco-friendly vehicle ecosystem that will allow us to manufacture unrivaled eco-friendly vehicles based on our own strengths by providing existing auto parts suppliers support for transitioning and helping to establish models of cooperation between large companies and SMEs and mid-market businesses.
In addition, the country’s public transportation vehicles and cargo trucks will be transitioned into eco-friendly models. The proportion of eco-friendly vehicles among newly sold automobiles will be raised to 33 percent by 2030, and the number of EV rapid chargers and hydrogen fueling stations will be increased to ensure that there will not be any inconvenience in using eco-friendly vehicles.
The conditions for the global economy and trade this year will be better than they were last year. We were able to catch a glimpse of this possibility last December.
The Government will concentrate its efforts to bring export indicators back into positive territory and help further accelerate innovative growth.
We will nurture 5G-related industries; the rechargeable battery industry; and the three new industries, including system semiconductors and future cars, in order to increase high-value-added export items. We will formulate regulatory reform roadmaps for the biohealth and artificial intelligence industries and establish a social compromise mechanism related to new industries.
Meanwhile, the Government will work to finalize the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and sign bilateral free trade deals with nations linked to the New Southern and New Northern policies and in Latin America, thereby expanding new markets through the strength of free trade. We will establish strategies to spread Brand K, a nationally certified trademark for SME products, and quadruple export financing for SMEs in order to help further increase their shipments abroad.
Increasing the materials, parts and equipment industries’ competitiveness can also boost that of our products, industries and trade overall. We will invest 2.1 trillion won in nurturing the materials, parts and equipment industries this year. The Government will designate the top 100 specialized pace-setting businesses and small yet strong companies to help them develop into global companies with specific expertise.
We are starting a new decade with the aim of taking a leap forward to become one of the world’s four largest export powerhouses by 2030.
The spirit of this mutually beneficial leap forward, which has begun with the export of these eco-friendly vehicles, will be a great boost to our economy in the new year 2020.
Working together is the path to becoming the world’s best, and our people who jointly take on new challenges and support one another constitute the future of the Republic of Korea.
Once again, congratulations on starting the export of our eco-friendly vehicles at the very beginning of the new year. We will take a strong leap forward together with the people. I wish you all the best in the new year.