Seminar parses economic future

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Seminar parses economic future

The government should continue easing unnecessary regulations on corporations, economists, analysts and officials, said at a seminar held by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday.

The seminar, sponsored by the JoongAng Ilbo, was held to discuss policy-making strategies for the long-term economic development of Korea as Asia’s fourth-largest economy faces a variety of challenges such as demographic change, surging government expenses for the welfare of aging people, as well as environmental and energy problems.

“When we look at the Korean economy in a more long-term perspective, we face challenging factors that could lead to a transition in the economy, such as the low birth rate, demographic change, increasing expenses for the aging society, unification [with North Korea], and so on,” said Joo Hyung-hwan, vice finance minister, at the seminar as a keynote speaker. “These tasks require more fundamental and macroeconomic responses and strategies.”

Composed of three sessions, attendees discussed a long-term development strategy for the Korean economy and re-establishing an economic operation system of the government; a new way for comprehensive and organized policy-making for corporations; and building up public trust in the government’s policy-making.

At the second session, Choe Seong-ho, a public administration professor at Kyonggi University, advised officials to maintain the ongoing reform of excessive regulations on companies.

“The government should make it regular to reform some core regulations related to corporations,” he said. “They should establish a ‘control tower’ in charge of all kinds of policies regarding corporations to coordinate roles of various government departments.”

He pointed out that many policies regarding corporations overlapped between the central and local governments or are contradictory.

“Due to insufficient coordination by the central government in terms of overlapping and contradictory policies, the government is hindering healthy competition among companies and responding late to nurturing cutting-edge industries,” he said.

Kim Jong-il, an economics professor at Dongguk University, said the government should strengthen its supervision of the domestic market.

“The government should focus on its roles of analyzing and supervising the market as well as arranging favorable conditions for the market,” he said.

Kim Joon-kyung, President of the Korea Development Institute, a state-run think tank, said the government should push forward with its structural reforms, apparently referring to President Park Geun-hye’s reform plans for four sectors - labor, education, public administration and finances.

“What is a concern for us is that our society is adjusting to or accepting the low economic growth,” Kim said. “This could hinder or delay the government’s structural reforms due to weak public consensus for change.”

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