SEOUL-- The country's new ministry dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said Monday it will vitalize the local economy by expanding exports of products made by smaller companies.

The Ministry of SMEs and Startups said it aims to expand the proportion of exports made by SMEs to over 40 percent of all outbound shipments by 2022.

Small and medium-sized companies accounted for 37.6 percent of exports in 2016, up 5.5 percentage points from 32.1 percent in 2012, according to the ministry. The amount of exports also rose 6 percent from US$175.7 billion to $186.3 billion during the cited period.

In order to further boost exports, the government said it plans to provide loans worth 1 trillion won ($889 million) to foreign companies that purchase products made by SMEs.

Other support measures include establishing an online platform for companies to carry out one-stop administrative affairs related to trade that range from customs clearance to export declaration, by 2019.

Source: Yonhap News Agency