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Moon vows support for smaller exporters, urges efforts to diversify

All Headlines 10:42 December 05, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday pledged efforts to expand the country's exports, especially by small and medium-sized firms, in his address to mark the annual Trade Day.

"Trade is a mainstay of our economy. Trade is making the heart of our economy beat strongly this year," the president said.

Moon commended local exporters for breaching the US$1 trillion mark in annual trade, the sixth largest in the world. He noted South Korean products' global market share is expected to reach a record high this year.

"Despite difficult conditions, we have rather greatly increased our exports with a firm determination. It has given hope and confidence to our economy and our people," he said.

The president said exporters have long driven the country's growth. However, they must change in order to ensure a sustainable growth in a new economic environment, he said.

"Recently, our economy is facing structural problems of low growth and economic polarization. Despite economic growth, jobs are not being created and the livelihoods of the people are not improving. Polarization is hampering consumption, which in turn is impeding growth," the president said. "Now, our trade policy must change too in line with the new era. It must go beyond quantitative growth to enable inclusive growth."

Moon promised the government will actively help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) explore overseas markets.

"I first wish to underline the role of small and medium-sized enterprises that account for 99 percent of all local firms and 88 percent of employment," he said, adding only 2.7 percent, or some 94,000 of them, were currently engaged in exports.

The president also stressed the importance of support from large conglomerates for smaller firms.

"I ask large firms to help their smaller partners and suppliers export and grow. The government too will actively support their efforts at coexistence," he said.

Moon also urged efforts to diversify and advance the country's export items and markets, noting export conditions will likely continue to deteriorate down the road due to a rise in global oil prices and trade protectionism, along with a reduction in quantitative easing.

"To overcome such difficulties, we must diversify our export markets that are currently focused too much in certain regions," he said.

"I will work to expand our economic boundaries and global cooperation so that you may go further into the world."

bdk@yna.co.kr
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