220th Ministerial Meeting on International Economic Affairs
Government to Work towards 10 Goals in 2021
Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki presided over the 220th Ministerial Meeting on International Economic Affairs held on January 11, 2021, where 2021 goals regarding international economic affairs, including those for EDCF, were main topics of discussion. DPM Hong talked at the beginning of the meeting about the 2020 performance and 2021 outlook with respect to international economic affairs.
The following is a summary of Deputy Prime Minister Hong’s keynote address:
2020 performance and 2021 outlook
Exports remained strong in 2020, despite a fall in global trade, exceeding US $500 billion for the fourth consecutive year. Construction orders from overseas increased 57 percent from the previous year to reach US $35.1 billion. This positive trend is likely to continue in 2021 given vaccine rollouts, economy-boosting policies in many countries and the new US administration favoring multilateralism. In addition, global economies which are now going towards a digital and green transformation are expected to offer opportunities for the economy, including new markets the Korean New Deal will create.
However, uncertainties linger with continuing trade conflicts between the US and China, ever-widening gap between the financial market and the real economy, and expanding volatility in global capital movement. Against this backdrop, the government has drawn up the 10 goals for 2021.
Ten goals for 2021
The government has set 10 goals to promote the export of new technologies, prepare for the new global trade order, actively participate in global cooperation on ODA and climate change response, and ensure cooperation with major trading partners, such as the US and China, as well as with future trading partners, such as countries in Southeast and Northeast Asia. The 10 goals are as follows.
1) Come up with trading partner-specific measures by the end of the first half
2) Come up with plans to increase cooperation with the new US administration in the five areas of a digital and green transformation, high technologies, climate change responses, disease prevention and multilateralism
3) Help with receiving overseas construction orders so that they will exceed US $30 billion in 2021, following the previous year
4) Build an online platform through which overseas trading information on 59 entities of around 1,100 items will be accessible
5) Revise regulations to effectively respond to mega FTAs, such as RCEP and CPTPP
6) Work for Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement to be reached
7) Work on expanding FTAs to 90 percent of global GDP
8) Expand the country’s ODA and work to improve development financing, such as through public-private partnership (PPP), in order to help those left outside the current programs
9) Expand the EDCF for a green and digital transformation to around US $800 million, an increase from US $500 million in the previous year
10) Actively participate in global climate change discussions, such as through close cooperation with the GCF and by hosting the P4G meeting, scheduled in Seoul this coming May
Pursue mega FTAs
Following the RCEP signed in November 2020, we will work this year for the joining of the CPTPP. We will revise regulations to meet the CPTPP requirements on sanitary, fisheries subsidies, digital trade and state-owned enterprises. We regard the revision as a step towards a post-COVID-19 economy, as well as a process to joining the world’s largest mega FTA.
Since its inception in 1987, Korea’s EDCF has provided a total of 20.7 trillion won worth of financial aid for 455 projects in 57 countries. Last year, we sent an emergency fund worth US $480 million to help respond to the pandemic. This year, we will work to improve the fund in the mid- to long-term according to the following focuses.
- Green and digital EDCF: Increase aid in the green and digital sector in which recipient countries can benefit from the Korean New Deal to US $1.4 billion by 2025, a three-fold increase from US $500 million last year
- Healthcare EDCF: Expand the healthcare EDCF to US $1 billion by 2025, and send healthcare professionals and equipment along with the financial aid as a package
- Introduce PPP and work with multilateral development banks: Respond to growing demand and include those left outside the programs
- Improve fund management: Work to increase fund management efficiency