2018 per capita income probably broke $30,000

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2018 per capita income probably broke $30,000

Korea’s per capita income is expected to surpass $30,000 for the first time, the finance minister said Monday, a dramatic rags-to-riches success story that has no parallel in contemporary history.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said the country’s per capita gross national income (GNI) in 2018 likely topped the milestone as the central bank is set to release a preliminary data on Tuesday.

Korea would be the seventh country in the world to join the so-called 30-50 club of economic powerhouses with a population of over 50 million and per capita income exceeding $30,000.

The development is a dramatic increase from 1970, when South Korea’s per capita gross national income stood at just $257.

On Monday, the government unveiled a set of measures to ensure that Korea can reach the $600-billion mark in exports for the second consecutive year in 2019.

The move came as Korea’s outbound shipments fell 11.1 percent in February from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month that outbound shipments backtracked.

Hong said Korea will open a center in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, later this month to support South Korean firms’ bids to win plant projects in central Asia. The government will also set up an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) desk in the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to help Korean companies make inroads into Southeast Asia.

Seoul has sought stronger economic relations with Asean as part of efforts to reduce its heavy reliance on trade with the United States and China, and to develop new growth drivers.

Asean member countries include Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, with their combined population estimated at 640 million.

Korea said it aims to export $7.7 billion worth of Korean agricultural products and $2.5 billion worth of seafood in 2019, up 11 percent and 5 percent from a year earlier, respectively.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will push to ensure Korean seafood can be sold at global retail giant Amazon, as well as Tmall, China’s largest open business-to-consumer platform.

Korea’s seafood exports to Japan, China and the United States amounted to $1.43 billion in 2018, accounting for 60.2 percent of its total seafood exports in that year.

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