Gov’t officials huddle to prepare for era of Trump

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Gov’t officials huddle to prepare for era of Trump

A day before the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president, Korean government officials met to discuss the possible risks that might arise from the incoming administration.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said global financial market volatility could widen when the Trump administration starts announcing its policies.

“Global financial markets might become more volatile after the new policies are implemented by the incoming administration in the United States,” said an official at the Finance Ministry.

The government said it was monitoring closely possible trade conflicts between the United States and China and upcoming elections in Europe, including the French presidential election in the spring.

The Finance Ministry said it will cooperate closely with its Chinese counterparts to deal with Beijing’s economic retaliation for Seoul’s decision last July to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system from the United States.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the two countries and we look forward to expanding our relationship,” said an official.

China continues to widen its economic squeeze on Korea by blocking sales of toilet seat bidets, stopping charter flights to Korea for tourism and banning Korean movies and dramas from being aired.

“We will express our concerns [about China’s trade policies toward Korea] through the two countries’ bilateral channel along with submitting documents to global organization such as the World Trade Organization,” said the Finance Ministry.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Friday said it would request the Finance Ministry to consider levying 5.73 percent to 10 percent antidumping duties on Chinese- manufactured pre-sensitized aluminum plate for offset printing.

The Trade Ministry said the market for that product is 130 billion won ($111.1 million) in Korea and Chinese imports account for 70 percent of the total market share. The antidumping inspection began August last year upon the request of local manufacturers.

The Trade Ministry said the amount of imported Chinese plate products continues to rise every year and that local manufacturers have complained to the government that they have been hurt by cheap Chinese products.

A total of nine Chinese manufacturers, including Kodak China Graphic Communication, Lucky Huaguang Graphics and Shanghai Bocica Printing Equipment, are subject to antidumping duties.

The government will come up with a final decision by April.

Meanwhile, the government also expressed concerns that the labor market will continue to be weak this year due to the ongoing corporate restructuring and fall in recruiting by companies.

“We believe the youth unemployment rate also is likely to surge in the first quarter of this year, as it is the season when many people graduate from schools, and the service sector hires less due to the effects of the antigraft law that went into effect recently,” said the Finance Ministry.

The government plans to execute 33.9 percent of the total budget allocated for boosting the job market in 2017 during the first quarter to maximize the positive impact.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]
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