SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will expand support for major exporters to tackle challenges such as a strong local currency, interest rate hike and rising oil prices to maintain upward momentum, the trade ministry said Friday.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy made the pledge in a meeting with major industrial associations and trade promotion agencies as it set the country’s export growth target at over 4 percent for 2018.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy relies heavily on trade to rev up its economy and reported export growth of 15.8 percent in 2017, with the total amount shipped abroad reaching an all-time high of $573.9 billion. The country’s trade surplus of $95.8 billion was led by an upturn in global demand for various goods and a memory chip boom.
“Lingering uncertainties in the financial market and rising trade protectionism could pose potential risks to South Korea’s exports this year,” Kim Young-sam, who leads the ministry’s trade and investment department, said. “The government will proactively respond to downside risks in exports, focusing policy efforts to expand exports.”
The ministry said semiconductors, petrochemical products, general machinery and computers will continue to drive up exports this year, projecting upbeat prospects for this month.
To deal with rising protectionism among major trading partners, the government has vowed to cultivate new promising markets and forge new trade pacts to lower barriers in developing economies to keep the growth momentum alive.