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S. Korea to sharply boost budget spending for parts, materials industries next year

Politics 16:46 August 13, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to sharply increase next year's budget spending for the parts and materials industries to help tide them over in the wake of Japan's export curbs, a top presidential official said Tuesday.

Kim Sang-jo, Cheong Wa Dae chief of staff for policy, asked for parliamentary cooperation to take the government's plan into account when the National Assembly reviews the 2020 government budget proposal, which will be drawn up soon.

"We've decided to sharply boost spending to support the parts and materials industries in next year's budget proposal and further increase the funding for innovation-based economic growth," Kim said at a tripartite meeting involving the presidential office, the government and the ruling Democratic Party (DP).

A task force to tackle Japan's trade restrictions involving the three sides held its first meeting at the National Assembly to discuss ways to help minimize the impact of Tokyo's retaliatory measures on local firms.

The body decided to work as a "control tower" to come up with coordinated responses to Japan's export curbs, according to participants.

"The government will swiftly and effectively implement an extra budget that includes spending set aside to (deal with) Japan's export curbs in order to yield results at an early date," Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo said.

On Aug. 2, the National Assembly passed a 5.83 trillion-won (US$4.8 billion) extra budget bill, supporting the government's move to prop up the slowing economy and respond to Japan's trade regulations.

After the meeting, the participants agreed to waive preliminary feasibility studies for projects worth 1.7 trillion won this month in a bid to nurture the local parts and materials industries.

The move is aimed at expediting the implementation of such projects.

Separately, Yang Jeong-cheol, director of the DP's policy institute, held a meeting with government officials and local think tanks.

"This is time to be united as 'one team' to promptly respond to (Japan's export restrictions) for the national interest," Yang said.

Earlier in the day, the government and DP lawmakers held a separate closed-door meeting to discuss next year's budget proposal.

They shared the need for expansionary fiscal spending for 2020.

The DP, in particular, called on the government to boost next year's budget to 530 trillion won and inject more than 2 trillion won into the parts and materials industries. South Korea's 2019 budget was 469.6 trillion won.

Officials from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the government and the ruling Democratic Party hold a consultative meeting to discuss ways to tackle Japan's export curbs at the National Assembly on Aug. 13, 2019. (Yonhap)


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