Backing her earlier pledges to foster small businesses and promote economic equality, President-elect Park Geun-hye urged the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to prioritize its support for the overseas expansion of small and medium enterprises.
“Small and medium-sized companies are often discouraged from reaching out to foreign markets because of the lack of information and local expertise,” Park said during the presidential transition committee’s economic forum late on Sunday.
She pointed out that the related state budget was often wasted in the past, thus calling for the necessity of a single department in charge.
The issue, she added, is also a core element of her comprehensive economic slogan ― economic democratization.
In order to solve the problem, Park suggested that KOTRA be converted into a specialized organization to back the export activities of SMEs.
The agency, currently affiliated with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, was established in 1962 as a state project to boost exports and to induce foreign investment.
Following Park’s policies, the ministry is expected to split up KOTRA’s multiple roles, possibly by taking over its foreign investment promotion function, so that the company may focus on backing the export trade of SMEs.
“We will reinforce the ties between KOTRA and exporting firms in overseas markets,” said a high-ranking official of the ministry.
“For example, KOTRA’s overseas offices may be used as a foothold to expand the overseas branches of exporting companies.”
Also, it is possible that the Small and Medium Business Administration may hand over some of its export-related functions to KOTRA, officials said.
“It has always been one of our key tasks to discover the potential of local small and medium enterprises and to boost their export,” said a KOTRA official.
“Though further details are to be determined by the incoming government and the ministry, we so far expect that Park’s words will not sway the fundamentals of our agency.”
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org