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Gov’t, Korea Inc. put heads together on industrial policy

Dec 07,2017
The government and corporate lobbying groups met Wednesday to work on measures to foster future growth drivers in the era of the so-called fourth industrial revolution. The government vowed to come up with fresh industrial policies.

The event, hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, was attended by Minister Paik Un-gyu, Park Yong-maan, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kim Young-joo, new CEO of the Korea International Trade Association, as well as academics and consultants. The first three were meeting for the first time officially.

“Data-wise, the economy is definitely getting better - record-high exports and impending recovery of the annual trade volume at $1 trillion, for instance - but I am sure businesses feel grave challenges facing them in and out of the country,” said Paik in a keynote speech. “It is high time that we cope with the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, lowered industrial competitiveness of key local industries and imbalances and polarization between industries.”

In a presentation, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Park said even though the corporate community is interested in new industries, “only 19 percent of the chamber’s member companies are actually pushing ahead with related businesses.”

He proposed the government reverse the current regulatory system, which is built around dividing goods, services and industries into those that are allowed and those that are not. Korea needs to approve most business practices and ban them only when problems occur, the chairman noted.

McKinsey and Company’s Seoul office came up with a study saying the fourth industrial revolution is set to propel the country’s productivity - creating 14 trillion won ($12.8 billion) to 33 trillion won economic value through 2025.

But the global consulting firm noted that the country needs to go through a general paradigm shift - deregulating, removing barriers to start-ups, making the labor market more flexible, reeducating laborers and establishing a data-based economy.

The state-run KITA said the fourth industrial revolution is transforming the landscape of Korea’s exports and that value-added industries and service industries need to be fostered.

Minister Paik promised to beef up efforts to improve the regulatory environment, create more jobs and support start-ups and unveil a new package of industrial policies - the first under the Moon Jae-in administration - by the end of this year.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]