[EDITORIALS]Korea must aim even higher

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[EDITORIALS]Korea must aim even higher

Korea has marked an epoch in the nation’s history, by pulling up its annual exports above the $200 billion mark. The epoch has been made in the 40th year since the nation achieved its goal of $100 million in annual exports and in the ninth year since the nation saw its annual exports exceed $100 billion.
The country has leaped to the position of the world’s 12th-largest exporter for a relatively short term, since all the people have made efforts under the slogan of “Let’s advance the nation with exports.” The nation’s main exports have developed from wigs and shoes to semiconductors and cars. And the country escaped from its chronic trade deficits and has marked $20 billion in trade surpluses this year. For such achievement, we thank business people and workers.
But despite the surface growth, Korea’s status as an exporter is now facing challenges. Recently, the nation’s exports have grown sharply, thanks to the recovery in the global economy. But now the positive factors are disappearing.
China’s cheap products and burgeoning technology have begun to threaten Korea. And regional free-trade agreements between other countries are pushing Korea into a disadvantageous position in the global market. The nation also faces the problems of deteriorating terms of trade, export profitability and increasing dependence on imports in parts supply.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Korea lives on exports. Exports account for more than 90 percent of the nation’s economic growth. Exports also account for 17.6 percent of domestic employment, though the proportion was greater in the past. In order to maintain exports’ power as the engines of the economy, the nation should work to develop technology and human capital, as well as balance exports with domestic sales.
Without the steady growth of exports, Korea cannot reach a $20,000 per capita national income level. The nation should strive to increase its exports well above the $200-billion mark so that it can create another “Miracle on the Han River.”
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