President Park Geun-hye presides over the revised 1st Trade and Investment Promotion Meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on May 1. Photo on courtesy of MCST.
President Park Geun-hye has revived a regular trade and investment promotion meeting, one of the legacies related to the so-called Economic Miracle on the Han under the leadership of her father, the late President Park Chung Hee, from the 1960s to 1979.
President Park presided over the first regulation trade and investment meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on May 1 in which about 150 people, including Deputy Prime Minister Hyun Oh-seok, ministers, and business leaders assembled to discuss ways to promote investment and protect businesses from foreign exchange fluctuations and other effects of the low yen.
The regular trade promotion meeting dates back to 1965, when the late Park upgraded an export promotion committee meeting hosted by a prime minister to instead be presided over by the president himself to boost the national economy through trade.
On Dec. 29, 1976 some 37 years ago, the late Park told a trade promotion meeting, “Export is an expression of the national strength, and in reality, the success or failure on the global market will depend on the quality of manual laborers.” The senior Park himself presided over 147 out of the 152 trade promoting meetings that took place during his tenure with the goal of raising Korea to the status of a trading powerhouse. Many pundits and industry leaders share the view that the meeting was partly responsible for leading to the current era of surpassing $10 billion in exports.
The Park Geun-hye government has changed the name of the meeting to the Trade and Investment Promotion Meeting, replacing the regular trade promotion meeting that took place between 1965 and 1979. Former presidents had presided over trade and investment promotion meetings and trade promotion meetings, but President Park has become the first president to inaugurate a regular trade and investment meeting on a quarterly basis, 34 years after the late senior Park’s death.
President Park’s regular meeting has something in common with the late Park’s confab: employing a trouble-shooting method in which related ministers suggest solutions to businessmen’s grievances and inconveniences put forth during meetings.
President Park received briefings on trade trends from conglomerate leaders. She herself has showed a keen interest in giving a helping hand to businesses, particularly SMEs. Minister Yoon Sang-jick, of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOCIE), reported steps to shore up exports and investments despite unfavorable economic circumstances. The meeting was emceed by MOCIE Vice Minister Kim Jae-hong.
Taking a cue from her late father’s holding of the regular trade promotion meeting, President Park apparently intends to set export and investments as national policy goals to restore the moribund economy, industry and academic experts agree.
President Park told the attendees at the first trade and investment promotion meeting, “The process of the meeting in which the difficulties related to export and investment businesses experience are heard, and related government agencies and organizations find out solutions will be practically a boon to businessmen.”
She stressed the need for taking stock of policies and regular feedback, saying that the solving of grievances and inconveniences businessmen face could have the effect of leading to investments.
President Park urged Deputy Prime Minister Hyun to lead the creation of an environment for promoting inter-ministry collaboration so exports and investments can be reinvigorated. She noted that only one government agency’s efforts to achieve trade and investment goals won’t solve the problems since businessmen are faced with a variety of regulations diverging among several government ministries.
She also called for the government and the private sector to extend their fullest efforts to resurge exports and investments so as to repeat the so-called Economic Miracle on the Han.