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S. Korea's finance minister vows to tackle trade protectionism

All Headlines 15:20 October 11, 2016

SEJONG, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top economic policymaker said Tuesday that he will put more efforts into dealing with changes in the global economic environment like trade protectionism.

"The world economy is experiencing economic nationalism, stemming from Brexit, or the British exit from the European Union, and the rise of protectionism," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said in a ministerial-level meeting on overseas economic policies in Seoul. "At the same time, there are more chances to draw up new global trade norms in international talks."

South Korea, which depends highly on exports and global trade, has to be well-prepared for those changes in the world economic structure and condition, he said.

"The government will push forward with policies to strengthen preparedness for rising trade protectionism, increase corporate support on exploring new markets and cope with new trade rules," Yoo said.

The International Monetary Fund cut the 2016 forecast of global trade growth to 1.7 percent from 2.8 percent and slashed its outlook for next year to 3.1 percent from 3.6 percent, citing a protracted economic slowdown and expanding protectionism.

Yoo, who is also double hatted as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said the South Korean government will take firm action against any unfair trade measures imposed on South Korean products.

Recently, the U.S. authorities charged anti-dumping and countervailing duty penalties against hot-rolled steel plates produced by Korean steelmakers, raising concerns that the world's largest economy has been intensifying its protectionism stance.

South Korea's trade volume totaled US$964 billion in 2015, ranking sixth in the world, with exports taking up $527.2 billion.

South Korea's Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho (2nd from L) speaks at a ministerial-level meeting on overseas economic policies in Seoul on Oct. 11, 2016. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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