Yonhap News Agency - 23 April 2020
S. Korea to deepen economic ties with developing economies amid pandemic
By Kang Yoon-seung
South Korea said Thursday it will expand economic ties with developing nations to overcome the looming protectionism around the globe amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to speed up the protectionism around the globe, which has been looming even before the (coronavirus outbreak)," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during her meeting with trade experts.
"Such changes will hurt the global supply chain and pose risks for South Korea’s export-oriented economy."
Yoo said South Korea needs to establish new types of business models with developing nations and beef up the country’s free trade portfolio to brace for the economic fallout from protectionism from major economies.
In detail, Seoul will seek to expand cooperation with trading partners in the digital segment, which is deemed to play a crucial role in the post-pandemic business environment.
"The country will clinch more bilateral or multilateral digital commerce pacts to cope with the changes while rolling out related projects with developing nations," Yoo said.
South Korea’s exports sank 27 percent on-year in the first 20 days of April amid the shock from the coronavirus pandemic, earlier customs data showed.
In March, the figures edged down 0.2 percent.
The International Monetary Fund expected South Korea’s economy to shrink for the first time in more than a score by falling 1.2 percent. The World Trade Organization also predicted the global trade volume may plunge up to 32 percent in 2020.
The trade minister also emphasized that South Korea should continue making efforts to persuade its trading partners to allow essential cross-border exchanges, especially by business figures, despite the travel restrictions and quarantine measures in place.