At the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Kyungho Choo gave opening remarks, followed by a welcoming speech by Dongchul Cho, President of the KDI, and a congratulatory speech by World Bank Secretary-General Anna Bjerde. Presentations and discussions then took place under the topics of reviewing past economic development achievements and taking stock of the current economic status (Session 1), exploring cases and ways forward of the international cooperation on economic development (Session 2), and discussing Korea’s future development strategies and visions (Session 3).
The following is a summary of DPM Choo’s opening remarks.
1. 60 Years of Korea’s Economic Development History and Korea Today
In the aftermath of the Korean War, Korea was in ruins with no production facilities left. However, the country started to make a blue print for national development by conducting seven rounds of 5-year economic development plans, and made relentless efforts to secure global competitiveness in the overseas market.
As a result, 60 years later, Korea put its name on the list of advanced economies by achieving rapid economic growth unprecedented in world history and also successfully established democracy.
Korea has become the first country that has transformed itself from an aid recipient to a donor, and in 2021, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reclassified Korea’s status from a developing economy to a developed economy.
Furthermore, Korea emerged as a global economic leader that has built solidarity with the international community by sharing its development experiences and confidence gained from such achievements.
Moving forward, the Korean government will fulfill its role and responsibility as a backbone of the global community by scaling up its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the level of the global top 10.
2. Internal and external risks and countermeasures for the Korean economy
That being said, such proud achievements over the past 60 years will not guarantee the next 60 years and there are still numerous challenges to be solved going forward.
Continuous economic recession and financial insecurity caused by high commodity prices, high interest rates, and economic fragmentation has aggravated people’s living conditions and the domestic economy also continues to slow down due to sluggish exports and investment.
Concerns on fiscal sustainability are growing because of the rapid increase of national debt while Korea’s growth potential is rapidly declining due to outdated regulations that fall behind global standards and accumulated structural problems across the economy and society as a whole such as labor∙education sectors.
In this regard, the government is making all-out efforts to stabilize the people’s livelihoods and revitalize the economy, while ensuring the stability of macroeconomic conditions through consistent and predictable policies based on its firm stance on price stability.
With focus on the diversification of Korea’s export items and markets as well as expansion of overseas contracts, the government is also striving to strengthen its export competitiveness so that its exports can rebound quickly in tandem with the upturn of the global economy.
Furthermore, the government is pursuing innovations on various regulations to meet global standards, encouraging investment by reinforcing financial and tax support, as well as actively supporting the private sector-driven economic recovery by expanding R&D investment in high-tech industries and technologies.
Structural reforms such as enhancing labor market flexibility and pension reform cannot also be neglected in order to boost productivity and improve fundamentals of the economy. In addition, the government is committed to firmly establish fiscal soundness through measures such as the enactment of fiscal rules.
- Source: Ministry of Economy & Finance, Republic of Korea (Source)
- Photo Source: MAY 26, 2023/ Namhae-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do/ KOCIS(Korean Culture and Information Service)/ Official Photographer : KIM SUNJOO