Minister Sung notes measures for the manufacturding sector in particular, the key sector faced with severe problems to be more competitive thru regulatory reform and civilian sector support
A scene from a Dec. 3 meeting of petrochemical company heads with Minister Sung Yun-mo of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy(MOTIE).
Minister Sung Yun-mo of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the ministry will have a plan ready by early next year to overcome a crisis facing industry. The plan will be focused on regulatory reform and ways for the civilian business sector to share the burden.
The minister made the announcement in a meeting with reporters at a meeting on Dec. 5 at the Government Complex in Seoul while explaining the direction of the government industrial policies.
Minister Sung Yun-mo of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. (Photos: MOTIE)
He said the government feels that the manufacturing sector in particular is faced with a serious problem, and the government will come up with measures to deal with the crisis to help the sector become more competitive, either this month or in January.
The minister said the measures for the automotive parts industry will be announced when the ministry makes its report at Cheong Wa Dae, the Presidential Office, some time this month. The measures will include subsidies paid to the auto parts makers and providing credit guarantees for loans to be taken out by the auto parts makers and government support in the area of R&D, Sung said.
Also to be unveiled at the Presidential Office will be the “Measures to Perk up the Auto Industry,” along with the measures tailor-made for SMEs, which will be focused on building many smart factories to reform productivity of SME plants.
For the new industry, the minister said the government will set up a road map for the hydrogen economy and the measure to strengthen the competitive power of the new recycled energy sector which is slated to be announced early in January.
Sung said the daring regulatory reform has always been a key factor while setting up the policies to take care of the crises facing the industrial sectors which have been developed to help the industries to find new markets for growth.
He said the regulatory reform is being aimed at new industries and high value-added industries, although he can’t name the regulations just yet.
The minister also said the government is sharing the burden with private industrial firms that are undertaking new challenges by helping them rise to the challenges with the help of the regulatory reform.
In the meantime, the petrochemical industry asked for an improvement in the shortened regular working hour regulations for business firms.
The leaders of the industry including key officials of such petrochemical firms as LG Chem, Hyundai Chemical, Kumho Petorchemical, Hanwha Total, Hanwha Chemical, GS Caltex, Yeochon NCC and Lotte Chemical, met with Minister Sung and asked for easing the shortened work hours system announced by the government recently, citing the tough times they have in the down time for maintenance job for their plant facilities.
A participant in the meeting said they don’t have enough time to repair and do other maintenance work on the plant facilities because of the new working hourly system so much so that they cannot ensure the safety of their plants.
They called for a three month- to six-month extension of the new working hour regulations as the petrochemical industry has to suspend the operation of the plants for a month or two once every two to four years for maintenance work.
The workers have to put in from 70 to 80 hours per week during the down time, which is impossible under the new working hours regulations. The government is fully aware of the problems, but the situation is complicated because of objections by labor unions.
The petrochemical industry is slated to invest 14.5 trillion won in new plant facilities by 2023 with S-Oil slated to plunk down 5 trillion won in the new NCC in its Ulsan Industrial Complex, and LG Chem to invest 2.6 trillion won in its new plants hiring more than 300 new employees for the new plants, to name some large investments.
The industry asked the government for its support to find land to build the new petrochemical plants around the country.