Minister Joo Hyung-hwan of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) attended a New Year’s gathering for those in the Korean machinery industry hosted by the Korea Association of Machinery Industry (KOAMI) at the 63 City in Yeouido, Seoul, on Jan. 9.
Among about 250 people were on hand at the event, including MOTIE Minister Joo; KOAMI Chairman Chung Ji-taik; current vice chairman of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction; and Reps. Lee Hyun-jae, Kim Gyu-hwan and Won Hae-young. Representatives from machinery-related organizations the Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers and Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) also attended the gathering, pledging to develop the machinery industry and promote solidarity among those in the industry.
KOIMA announced the industry’s buzzword for the year, “dananheungbang,” a Chinese saying meaning “the saving of the nation” after overcoming difficulties and R&D. It symbolizes the industry community’s determination to drive the growth of the national economy by securing original technologies through continued R&D activities, as well as innovation in the manufacturing industry through convergence and “being smart.”
The Korean machinery industry saw exports decline 2.9 percent to $45.3 billion last year over the previous year, but the industry is predicted to see exports rise 1.5 percent to $46 billion this year, thanks to the recovery of demand in advanced countries, including the United States.
The machinery industry is expected to see exports increase a small margin due to expansionary fiscal policies of major countries, including the United States and Japan, but the increase rate is forecast to be small due to such uncertainties as the strengthening of protectionist moves, promoted by “Trumpnomics,” uneasiness of the global financial market and the slowing of China’s growth rate.
In his New Year’s message, KOAMI Chairman Chung said, “We at the machinery industry have strenuous efforts to maintain Korea’s status as the global eighth machinery export power despite the stark conditions, including the sagging economies in China and Europe, a declining demand from the Middle, caused by low international crude oil prices, and the restructuring of the Korean shipbuilding industry.” He called for the machinery industry to become a driving force in the innovation of the manufacturing industry and create jobs amidst current stark economic conditions and uncertainties.
To this end, Chung stressed the need to upgrade design technologies to brace for external and internal industry landscape changes in the wake of the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution; laying the groundwork for quality innovation a foundation for nurturing an advanced mold industry; and the strengthening of R&D activities tailored to meet market demands. He also urged the industry to aggressively explore new markets by holding exhibitions in Korea and abroad, including the Korea Industry Fair, and export consultation meetings, and dispatching market exploration teams.
MOTIE Minister Joo said, “The industry conditions are expected to not be favorable due to continued external uncertainties, including the inauguration of the new U.S. administration, and various countries’ protectionist moves.” He emphasized the ever-important roles of the machinery industry, a basic platform of industries, in the wake of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is hitting the industry community at a fast pace. He said the government plans to ramp up policy support to help the machinery industry secure a competitive edge to lead changes of the 4th Industrial Revolution.