By Lee Hana
President Moon Jae-in on Dec. 5 said Korea will not stop until it achieves its goal of becoming one of the world's top four exporters by 2030, affirming his administration's support for the trade and commerce industries.
At a ceremony for the 2019 Trade Day held at Seoul's Convention and Exhibition Center, or COEX, he thanked the many businesses that kept the economy afloat during a global economic slowdown.
The president stressed that Korea maintained trade volume of USD 1 trillion for the third consecutive year and a trade surplus for 11 straight years despite the U.S.-China trade dispute, Japan's export restrictions and slowing economic growth.
"We can have a positive outlook on our economy based on the strength of our trade and commerce," he said.
"With our businesspeople, scientists and consumers all banding together, we've managed to handle Japan's trade restrictions. We've diversified our imports of materials, equipment and parts, turning the situation into an opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our industries."
The president also announced plans to expand the country's network of free trade agreements (FTAs) and support the development of new industries.
Along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Indonesia, the president said he would pursue bilateral FTAs with Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia and Uzbekistan to connect them to Korea. He added that he would increase the country's FTA network to account for 90% of global GDP by 2022, up from this year's 77%.
He emphasized the need for regulatory reform to increase the competitiveness of new industries, and pledged reform in system semiconductors, biohealth, future cars, cosmetics, rechargeable batteries and food products.
The president also promised to boost funding for startups and small and medium businesses to KRW 200 billion, four times the amount spent this year, and for trade finance to KRW 8.2 trillion, up 30%, to help these businesses enter the global market.