South Korean government pledges all-out effort to boost exports

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FILE PHOTO: A truck drives between shipping containers at a container terminal at Incheon port in Incheon

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s government vowed on Tuesday to make every effort to boost export growth in semiconductors, rechargeable batteries and areas promising new growth, after preliminary government data showed exports fell the most in 26 months in October.

“It will be difficult for exports to reverse to a growing trend in the near future, considering a global economic slowdown and a subsequent downtrend in the IT industry,” the government said in a statement released by the finance ministry.

The government said it would make every effort to boost exports, especially in industries where South Korea is a global leader, such as in semiconductors and rechargeable batteries. It would also focus on sectors with potential for new growth, like media content, biopharmaceuticals and aerospace, it said.

The finance minister on Tuesday headed an inter-ministerial economic policy meeting that outlined more than 60 policy measures to provide financial and other support to help exporting companies secure human resources and win overseas orders, according to the statement.

Most of the measures were prepared during last week’s economic policy meeting headed by President Yoon Suk-yeol. The ministries involved in Tuesday’s meeting said in the statement they would proceed to implement the measures as planned.

South Korea’s October exports fell 5.7% from a year earlier, preliminary government data showed on Tuesday, the biggest percentage fall since August 2020.

The nation’s trade deficit also persisted into a seventh month, underscoring that Asia’s fourth-largest economy is slowing and its currency is hovering near 13-year lows.

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue)