Trade ministry eyes new resources overseas

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Trade ministry eyes new resources overseas

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said yesterday it will spend 61 trillion won ($58.8 billion) in promoting overseas resource development, focusing on the qualitative growth of the energy sector.

The ministry also announced in a report to President Park Geun-hye that its target for Korea’s exports this year is $600 billion and that it hopes to attract $17 billion in foreign direct investment.

On the energy front, public corporations that spent too much on overseas projects during the last administration will start cutting back on their projects, focusing on the most profitable.

“The paradigm of overseas resource development will make a shift from quantitative expansion to qualitative growth,” said the ministry.

To help land profitable projects, the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of Korea will offer a total of 61 trillion won in loan guarantees.

“The country made great achievements amid difficulties in the global economy, but from now on it will have to focus more on quality of overseas orders and less on quantity,” it said.

Last year, Korea won access to a 550 million barrel oil field in Iraq and a gas field in Mozambique that measures 19 trillion cubic feet.

But public energy companies have been criticized for massive borrowing to secure energy sources overseas during the Lee Myung-bak administration.

To increase the transparency of the projects, experts from the private sector will be used on public energy projects.

The ministry aims to secure 1 billion barrels of oil from the United Arab Emirates by tapping three oil fields this year.

It will also participate in the production of shale gas in the Eagle Ford area of Texas in the United States.

It will continue making efforts to conclude nuclear power plant deals with Finland and Vietnam. To achieve this year’s export target, the government will strengthen financial support for small exporters.

Government-offered trade finance will rise from 73.8 trillion won last year to 77.4 trillion won this year.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]



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