SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will spend some 480 billion won (US$418 million) this year to further build up its pharmaceutical and bio industry that can fuel exports and create jobs, the government said Tuesday.
The development and support plan is a follow-up to the government's five-year plan announced in late 2017, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
Last year, Seoul allocated 430 billion won to bolster research and development (R&D), as well as training of expert personnel, in addition to export support and administrative reform.
In R&D, the ministry said some 391.4 billion won will be utilized in 2019 in such fields as artificial intelligence and "smart clinical testing" infrastructure, with 60.1 billion won earmarked for the training of expert personnel. It said 11.8 billion won and 14.6 billion won, respectively, will be spent on export assistance and administrative reform.
In the area of export, the ministry said outbound shipments are expected to grow some 22 percent on-year to $5.9 billion, up from $4.8 billion tallied for 2018. In the all important job creation field, support could allow about 114,600 jobs to be added this year up, from an increase of 107,600 in 2018.
Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo, who chaired the gathering, emphasized the importance of timely support that is directly linked to public health.
"Pharmaceutical and bio sectors are critical business areas that can contribute to the creation of jobs and add value to key industries that are essential for sustainable growth," the policymaker said.
The ministry said that in 2018, state R&D support that reached 383.9 billion won contributed to five technology transfer deals worth 3.67 trillion won.
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