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(LEAD) President Moon emphasizes need for innovation to create more jobs

Politics 15:11 March 20, 2019

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with more details, additional information, edits throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in renewed his call for innovation and deregulation Wednesday while also calling for efforts to boost the country's exports to help create more jobs.

The call came in a special report by Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki to brief the president on economic conditions.

The meeting came one day after the president stressed the need to develop the country's key manufacturing industries as a way of revitalizing Asia's fourth-largest economy.

"The world's manufacturing industry in general is facing difficulties due to a global economic slowdown but we cannot blame only external factors. The problem is that our manufacturing industry's competitiveness is waning," he told a Cabinet meeting held Tuesday.

President Moon Jae-in (L) listens to a report on economic conditions from Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, who is seated across from him, in a special meeting held at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on March 20, 2019. (Yonhap)

Moon noted the country's job market was showing signs of improvement, but called for additional steps to create more jobs, especially in the private sector.

"Although the rise in employment accelerated in February, the rise in the number of jobs in the private sector is still disappointing, so make sure the efforts toward innovation-led growth are implemented without any disruption," the president was quoted as telling Hong, who is double-hatted as a deputy prime minister for economy.

South Korea added 263,000 new jobs last month, which marked the largest on-year gain in over a year, according to data released earlier.

The president highlighted the need to think out of the box, his spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

"While stressing the need to change the way of thinking, President Moon ordered (Minister Hong) to introduce the new deregulation mechanism the finance ministry has adopted to other ministries at an early date," the spokesman said in a press release.

Under the new mechanism, the government needs to prove the need to keep any given regulation from being removed, whereas in the past consumers or businesses had to prove the need to scrap them.

The president and the finance minister also reviewed ways to keep the country's exports and investment from falling, according to the spokesman.

"I ask the economic team, led by the deputy prime minister for economy, to work for the revitalization of the economy and improvements in the job market by making sure the sentiment of major economic players will continue to improve and lead to visible outcomes," Moon was quoted as saying.

The country's central bank earlier slashed its 2019 growth outlook for the local economy to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent forecast earlier, which would mark a slowdown from a 2.7 percent on-year expansion posted last year.


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