Choi steered path through ‘economic difficulties’

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Choi steered path through ‘economic difficulties’

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CHOI KYUNG-HWAN

Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan on Thursday praised his team’s handling of the economy during the past 18 months amid a variety of national and international problems.

Choi is due to leave his ministerial office in the Sejong Government Complex soon to return to his seat at the National Assembly to prepare for the April general election.

“As I said I wanted to walk a path that doesn’t exist on a map when I first took the office, I did everything I could do while going through difficulties like the Middle East respiratory syndrome [MERS] outbreak and tumbling exports,” Choi told reporters at a year-end press conference near Sejong City.

“If the exports turned out better, we could have reached a yearly growth as high as 4 percent,” Choi said. “Our economy grew 3.3 percent last year and created nearly 530,000 jobs, overcoming the aftereffects of the Sewol ferry sinking, and then, it again succeeded in overcoming the MERS outbreak quicker than we initially thought.”

Regarding many local economists’ argument that the Korean economy has neared an “unprecedented crisis” and may face another major economic crisis as serious as the 1997 Asian economic crisis, Choi said it was “an overblown assessment.” He added that “if one says the Korean economy is facing an unprecedented crisis, there is no country in this world that is free from the danger of crises.”

But he acknowledged that global financial uncertainty will raise external risks next year more than this year, and the Korean government should pay attention to external factors to survive another year.


BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]




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