SEOUL, KOREA - In January, the Presidential Transition Committee announced a governmental restructuring plan. The plan includes the establishment of the Ministry of Future, Creation, and Science. The new ministry is expected to cover national research and development as well as information and communication technology (ICT), establishing itself as one of the key organizations of the Park Geun-hye administration. The ministry is expected to employ roughly one thousand employees.
During her campaign, Park emphasized that she would promote the nation’s science and technology sector as a main growth engine for Corporate Korea. The new ministry is expected to contribute to the realization of Park’s hope to energize the Korean economy through the promotion of science and technology.
Political observers say that Park and her administration will seek ways to address various problems facing the Korean economy by focusing on areas where Korea has an established competitive edge such as information and communications technology. President-elect Park has pledged to renew the focus on ICT by appointing a vice minister to be in charge of information and communications technology. Korea Communication Commission, Ministry of Public Administration and Security, and Ministry of Knowledge Economy were responsible for ICT matters under President Lee Myung-bak.
In terms of government spending, the new ministry is expected to allocate an annual budget of more than 20 trillion won for Korea’s research, development, and ICT projects.
However, some experts are concerned that the Ministry of Future, Creation, and Science may face a lot of difficulties, citing the substantial difference between the science and technology sector and the ICT sector, which may result in problems and confusion. Skeptics claim that the ministry may experience difficulties coordinating their policies, since the science and technology sector needs investments for five to ten years while the ICT sector commonly achieves its goals within one or two years.
Conversely, President-elect Park Geun-hye has suggested “economic democratization” as one of her key policies. As such, since winning the presidential election, Park has emphasized that she will become a president who will enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies in Korea. Park’s interest in small and medium-sized companies is reflected in preparations for her inaugural ceremony. The Presidential Transition Committee announced that Yonhanaro Communications will plan and direct the ceremony to be held on February 25. Yonhanaro Communications is a mid-sized event-specialized company with about 70 employees. This is in stark contrast to the large conglomerates that managed previous presidential ceremonies. Cheil Communications, a subsidiary of the Samsung Group, took charge of the inauguration ceremony for President Lee Myung-bak. LG Ad was in charge of President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration.
The Park Geun-hye administration is expected to eradicate large companies’ unfair business practices against small and medium-sized companies. During her visit to the Korean Federation of Small and Medium Business, Park promised to increase the amount of fines levied against unfair trade by large companies up to ten times the current amount.
This matter is being discussed by the Fair Trade Commission of Korea and the Presidential Transition Committee. As a result of these discussions, punishments for large companies that conduct unfair business practices against small companies will become far more substantial. Park is expected to expand the government’s support for the human resources development of small and mid-sized companies during her term.
Park also plans to expand financial support for small and mid-sized companies with the goal of making improvements to their R&D environment. Park promised to designate small and medium-sized firms with excellent records of cultivating high-quality human resources as human resources developing small and medium-sized firms. Those selected will be provided with financial and material support. In addition, Park also promised to have the government purchase and use more products from small and medium-sized firms. To raise funds for small and medium-sized companies is another plan of Park to help them solve their financial problems.