Industry minister vows efforts for vibrant exports, investment in new year

SEOUL– Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang vowed Friday to make all-out efforts to boost exports and investment and to ensure energy security next year amid multiple global economic headwinds.

He made the pledge in his message for the new year, saying that weaker global demand, heated competition and geopolitical uncertainties stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war are feared to hurt the country’s key growth engine of exports and investment.

“The government will mobilize all possible capabilities to boost exports by focusing on such nations with growth potential as the Middle East, South American countries and ASEAN nations. We will nurture nuclear, military items and plant construction fields to seek greater opportunities,” Lee said.

The government will ease regulations and offer more incentives to vitalize investment and earmark 81 trillion won (US$64.28 billion) of budget for policy funds, he added.

South Korea is expected to log record exports of more than US$680 billion this year, but outbound shipments have shown an on-year fall in recent months on a global economic downturn. The finance ministry forecast that exports will fall 4.5 percent on-year next year.

The minister also pledged to create more business chances overseas by actively responding to major global trade issues, such as the U.S.’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the European Union’s carbon tax scheme of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Amid a global energy crisis, South Korea will resume the construction of the Shin Hanul No. 3 and 4 reactors next year and take concrete steps to recover the country’s industry ecosystem in the nuclear power generation field, he added.

“We will increase gas and oil reserves and strengthen the management of key minerals so as to ensure stable energy supplies. We will boost energy self-sufficiency by expanding both nuclear power and renewable energy generations,” he added.

Lee stressed the government’s commitment to nurturing high-tech industries, such as semiconductors, batteries and display, by supporting their infrastructure construction and nurturing talent. He also vowed to devise strategies to overhaul the industry “fundamentally” to achieve sustainable growth.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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