Q: In spite of many adverse difficulties, Korea's trade volume is steadily increasing. Will it be possible to reach the trade volume of US$700 billion until the end of this year
A: Whenever we meet with the Trade Day, we always feel that Korea's trade has a great potential. In spite of the weak exchange rates of the US dollar against Korean Won and surging oil prices, until the end of this year, Korea's exports are expected to reach US$ 370 billion, up 14% over the previous year, and its imports are expected to exceed US$350 billion. Therefore, if the current trends continue, the trade volume of US$ 700 billion is expected to reach until the middle of this December. If Korea's exports amount to US$700 billion, it is a great achievement following the trade amount of US$500 billion in 2005 and the exports volume of US$300 billion in 2006. In particular, entering this year, the FTA agreement has been made between Korea and the USA, thus laying the foundation for trade expansion, and also Korea has achieved the doubledigit exports increase for the past five consecutive years, continuously marking a trade surplus in the last 10 years since 1998. For all these achievements, I would like to express deep thanks to all the people engaging in the trade business. Meanwhile, one thing we are sorry for is that because of the weakening exchange rates of US dollars against Korean won, the exporters' profitability has been deteriorated, and that due to the weak rates of Korean won against Japanese yen, the trade deficit against Japan has increased to about US$ 30 billion.
Q: As far as we know, Korean government and KITA's next trade goal is US$ 1 trillion, thus becoming the world's 8th largest trading nation. With regard to this ambitious plan, what kind of strategies does KITA have
A: Since we have accomplished the goal of US$ 700 billion, it is not excessive that Korea's next trade target is US$ 1 trillion. The nations that have, until now, achieved the trade amount of US$ 1 trillion are only 5 countries: the USA, Germany, China, Japan, and France. If Korea's trade volume reaches US$ 1 trillion and enters the world's 8th largest trading nation, it means that Korea has grown to be a powerful nation from the economic point of view. In order to accomplish this goal, we need both a trade paradigm shift and diverse strategies. KITA has the following 4 strategies:
First, a positive market opening policy is very important. To this end, FTA agreements with large economic blocs such as the USA, EU, Japan, and China have to be made as soonest as possible. Also, domestic companies' launch into overseas markets can be activated by way of M&A. In addition, aggressive deregulation will contribute to inducing foreign capital. Secondly, the competitiveness of mainstream industries such as semiconductors, shipbuilding, and automobiles are to be strengthened continuously, and the future industries including information nano, and bio technologies that are expected to play a key role in global markets are needed to be fostered. Thirdly, the establishment of advanced trade infrastructure is also an urgent task. That is to say, we have to expedite the establishment of u-Trade hub, fostering trade manpower, and promoting trade exhibition industry. Finally, the stable foreign exchange rates and interest will play a key role not only for the expansion of trade volume, but also expediting facility investment and making it possible to obtain growth potential.
Q: Could you tell us a little more about u-Trade Hub
A: For quite a long time, KITA has placed top priority on the establishment of an electronic trade network in an effort to strengthen the competitiveness of its member companies. Last May, KITA has opened a u-Trade Hub, in which trading companies can perform all kinds of jobs from beginning to end through the single window on the Internet. This u- Trade Hub simplifies the complex procedures of trade-related jobs, making it possible to reuse data automatically through the system, and providing guidance to the users.