Trade minister enlists support from conglomerates

Trade minister enlists support from conglomerates

Korea’s trade minister urged the chiefs of major business groups on Thursday to step up investment to help revive exports and rejuvenate the sluggish economy.

“With your efforts, our economy will be able to get back on the right track earlier than expected. We want you to invest to create world-leading industries and develop innovative technologies,” said Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan at a breakfast meeting with the heads of the nation’s top 30 conglomerates.

A number of factors, including low oil prices and a slowdown in the Chinese economy has been dragging on the South Korean economy.

In January, exports — which account for about two-thirds of the nation’s GDP — plunged nearly 20 percent from a year earlier. That was the largest on-year decline in more than six years, according to government data.

Joo stressed that the government is prepared to remove all hurdles that stand in the way of more investment. Some of those efforts will include implementing structural reform in labor and financial sectors, said the minister.

He added that he plans to hold regular meetings with conglomerates to share economic views.

On Wednesday, the government said that it plans to inject a total of 21 trillion won ($17.4 billion) into the economy in the first quarter and extend a consumption tax cut program on passenger cars to bolster domestic demand.


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