President emphasizes need to boost the economy

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President emphasizes need to boost the economy

President Park Geun-hye called attention yesterday to the importance of the manufacturing industry in propping up the Korean economy, noting that the country’s electronics, steel and shipbuilding businesses were being rapidly outpaced by new competitors from overseas.

Presiding over her biweekly meeting with her senior secretaries, the president said that second-half economic policies and tax reforms following the initiation in July of a second generation of economy-related cabinet members had stumbled amid the crisis in Korea’s manufacturing sector.

“Because the extent of the economic recovery is unclear, earnings in major basic industries have deteriorated, heightening a sense of crisis over competitiveness in manufacturing,” she said. “[Emerging companies overseas] are excelling in the electronics, shipbuilding and metal sectors, where Korean enterprises once held global sway, and are moving faster than expected.”

She added that Korea should come up with measures to boost the manufacturing industry to prevent the crisis from becoming a permanent phenomenon. The president, who has emphasized economic growth of late, also urged politicians to cooperate in passing pending bills so that related policies could be administered.

She further mentioned bills related to boosting foreign investment, normalizing the real estate market and fostering the tourism, service and medical industries. “All these pending bills are closely tied to the public’s livelihood and job creation,” she said.

One pending bill, for example, aims to boost the tourism industry through the launch of a 20,000-ton cruise ship with a casino onboard. If such a plan were realized, it could lead to 90 billion won ($87 million) in added value per year as well as the creation of 900 new jobs, the president noted; however, since the bill on service industry development was proposed in July 2012, there has been practically no discussion on it.

The president also went so far as to shift public blame of the government over policy delays onto politicians. “Politics exist for the people, not the politicians,” she said. “It is time for us to question whether politics really exist for the people now and whether all blame should really be placed on the government. I think this is something for which the entire political realm should take responsibility.”

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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