Dignitaries on hand at a New Year’s gathering of those in the Korean petrochemical industry pose for a group photo session. They are (from left) Yeochun NCC President Lee Gyu-jung,; LG Chem Vice Chairman Park Jin-soo,; MOTIE Vice Minister Lee In-ho,; KPIA Chairman Huh Soo-young,; Hanwha Chemical Vice Chairman Kim Chang-beom,; and SK Global Chemical President Kim Hyung-gun. (Photo: MOTIE)
The government announced a plan to provide support to the Korean petrochemical industry’s research into value-added petrochemical products and make investments in the sector, departing from the conventional focus on general-use items.
Vice Minister Lee In-ho of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) made the remarks at a New Year’s gathering of those in the Korean petrochemical industry at the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Jan. 17. Vice Minister Lee praised the ministry’s contribution to the reinvigorating of the national economy through production and exports in 2017 and called for the industry’s aggressive steps to cope with changes of the times.
“Major countries which have seen their self-sufficiency rate rise in recent years tend to strengthen import restrictions and conditions surrounding the petrochemical industry are changing greatly like riding crude oil prices, environment issues and the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution,” he said.
Lee urged the industry participants to redouble innovative growth and shared grown with down-stream and up-steam SME partners to maintain the current competitiveness status.
“The Petrochemical industry is asked to aggressively conduct research and investment into value-added products, departing from the conventional industrial structure focusing on general use products to ensure innovative growth,” said Vice Minister Lee, adding that the government will support what the industry does it.
He called for the industry’s close cooperation in down-stream and up-stream sectors to help the industry keep on growing and urged large-sized companies to proved their knowhow and capabilities to help SMEs, which are struggling to cope with such challenges as the stark environment, technology and manpower issues. He also urged the industry to make their all-out efforts so that a rise in the minimum wage, one of the national agendas for income-oriented growth, can be settled down in the industry.
Chairman Huh Soo-young of the Korean Petrochemical Industry Association (KPIA), said, “Last year was a significant year in which the Korean petrochemical industry chalked up about $45 billion in exports, contributing greatly to realizing the government’s goal of posting $1 trillion in international trade.”
Despite such uncertain business conditions as a global supply glut and protectionist trade moves, Chairman Huh said the industry should move forward without wavering.
In order to secure the industry’s competitiveness, he called for the industry to make equipment bigger, more specialized, and vertically integrated on top of the development of proprietary technologies and investment into value-added projects.
He also urged the industry to redouble efforts to enhance efficiency of the industry’s value chain through the building of win-win regimes with their cooperative companies and client firms. He called for the understanding of the significance of safety and environment issues, aggressive investments and closer communications with the government and stakeholders.
Hur also appealed for the exploring of overseas markets beyond the domestic turf and aggressive addressing foreign countries’ antidumping measures through prior monitoring and closer collaboration with the government.