South Korea to promote open trade to overcome pandemic
28 May 2020
South Korea’s trade minister said yesterday the country will continue to promote open trade amid growing protectionism in the aftermath of the new Covid-19 pandemic, calling for major trade partners to join efforts to normalise the virus-hit global supply chain, the Yonhap news agency reported.
“In the post-pandemic era, the global environment for trade and commerce will change drastically,” Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during a video conference with experts around the globe, hosted by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
“Each country will move towards economic nationalism, and the global supply chain will also be reorganised. The world will also experience the transition to the digital economy,” Yoo added.
In the face of such challenging times, the trade minister said countries must
reconnect with each other by allowing business officials to travel while seeking to revitalise the global trade of goods and services.
The remarks came as the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected at least 5.5 million across the globe, has virtually suspended international travel, dragging down export-oriented economies such as South Korea.
During the conference, deputy director-general Alan Wolff of the World Trade Organization (WTO) echoed the view, saying the global body will make efforts to promote the travel of the essential workforce while abolishing unnecessary trade regulations.
South Korea reiterated that the world should establish new guidelines under which countries can maintain normal trade even in the case of emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country’s exports are expected to dip nearly 23% in May from a year earlier and to post a trade deficit for the second consecutive month, a poll showed earlier.
Outbound shipments of South Korea fell 24% year-on-year in April, when it suffered the first monthly trade deficit since 2012.