5 goods are targeted for export boost by authorities

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5 goods are targeted for export boost by authorities

The government is seeking to boost the export of five selected consumer goods to $35 billion by 2022 from $27.7 billion last year.

The products are agriculture goods, fisheries goods, household goods, cosmetics and fashion goods.

To encourage the overseas sales, exports insurance support will be almost doubled to $8 billion, the government promised during an economics ministers meeting hosted by Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki.

Discounts on insurance premiums for small and middle-sized enterprises will go from 25 percent to 35 percent. Discounts for conglomerates will remain 10 percent. Support will be provided through state-owned financial companies.

Government institutions, such as the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, will help develop overseas sales channels. Possible channels include online platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, Far Fetch, Net-a-Porter, Zozo Town and Shopee.

A total of 15 consumer brands will be selected for their growth potential and be labeled as “K-premium” brands next year. These brands will be given extra support, including R&D and marketing assistance.

Small consumer brands will receive support to become iconic brands, including those selling shoes in Seongsu-dong in eastern Seoul, fashion from fashiontown in Dongdaemun, items from the jewelry town in Jongno and wares from Namdaemun in central Seoul. The goal is not only to raise brand recognitions but also to help the locations become destinations.

Asia’s largest consumer goods exhibitions will be held in Seoul in 2022. An estimated 10,000 companies will participate, more than the 1,500 that participated in this year.

The exhibition will not only display consumer goods but also have spaces where people can experience the goods with the latest technologies, such as 5G connectivity, Internet of Things, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The government will be benchmarking Guangzhou, China’s Canton Fair.

It will also be increasing its support of consumer goods R&D, investing 195 billion won ($164.9 million) this year. Finance Minister Hong said these efforts are one element of the initiative to boost exports amid growing uncertainties in global trade.

“The government is working closely with related departments and institutions while sharing related information quickly to minimize the negative impact of the continuing trade conflict between the United States and China,” said Finance Minister Hong. “Additionally, the government has preemptively eradicated uncertainties by reaching a post-Brexit free trade agreement with Britain on June 10,” he said. “In doing so the Korea-EU FTA benefits will to remain with Britain.”

Korea was the first in Asia to sign a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo said the measures are focused on expanding the positive momentum of consumer goods exports.

“Recently, amid difficult export conditions, the five promising consumer goods have been showing solid growth,” Sung said. “With the spread of Hallyu [Korean wave] and expanding e-commerce, there are expectations that Korean consumer goods will do well not only in emerging countries like China and Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations markets] but also in advanced markets such as the United States and Europe.”

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Korea’s consumer good exports have been steadily increasing. Just five years ago, exports of these products totaled $20 billion, 3.5 percent of all Korean exported goods. As of last year, they were 4.6 percent of the total.

“However, when compared to some competitors like Germany or Japan, Korean consumer goods contribution to exports is still low,” said Lee Sang-joon, head of the Trade Ministry’s international trade promotion division.

In Germany, consumer goods accounted for 26.2 percent of all exports in 2017, and in Japan that figure was 17.6 percent.

BY LEE HO-JEONG, SUH YOU-JIN [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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