‘New Southern, Northern cooperation needed in post-COVID-19 era’
May 8, 2020
Global Korean Post
By Xu Aiying and Lee Jihae
The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy on May 7 held a policy seminar on the achievements and tasks of the Moon administration’s foreign economic policy so far at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Seoul. The event marked the third anniversary of the administration.
Acting institute president Chung Chul said the government over the past three years has continuously pressed for an economic policy that expands trade horizons and strengthened win-win cooperation with neighboring countries amid the global economic slowdown and decline of world economic growth that resulted in the deepening of trade protectionism.
He forecast a further slowdown as inevitable due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying, “(In the post-COVID-19 era), chances are extremely high that the global industrial structure and commercial environment will undergo reshuffling and become very different due to the development of digital technology, expansion of unilateralism, limits on the movement of people and materials, and changes in the global value chain.”
“Preemptive responses that apply new commercial policies and the New Southern and New Northern policies are important.”
The seminar also featured evaluations of and discussions on the New Southern and New Northern policies, which comprise the core of the Responsible Northeast Asia Plus Community, one of 100 policy tasks of the incumbent administration.
Lee Jay-min, vice chairman of the National Economic Advisory Council, said that with growing trade protectionism as seen in the Sino-U.S. conflict, the Korean government over the past three years has achieved a turning point by renegotiating the bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S., concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and strengthening regional cooperation by pursuing the New Southern and New Northern policies.
To respond to changes such as the rise in the doctrine of putting one’s own country first due to the pandemic and shifts in the global supply chain, he added, the government through active global cooperation must diversify economic cooperation and restore the free trade order by accelerating the New Southern and New Northern policies.
“Korea must utilize its overcoming of the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to boost its global position. It must also secure a new competitive edge utilizing its IT prowess and advanced health system,” he said.
Kwon Goohoon, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, said, “Through cooperation with New Southern and New Northern nations, we must form a new growth engine and make a leap as a regional economic hub.”
“If our efforts such as the railroad common network vision, the push toward a pilot district under Korean-Chinese cooperation and the launch of a Korean-Russian investment fund come to fruition, we can respond to the reshuffling of the global supply chain in the post-COVID-19 era and lay the foundation for Northeast Asia cooperation.”