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News on SERI’s conferences, symposiums, and seminars.

SERI hosts the 2011 Korean Economic Forum

May 24, 2011

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SERI hosts the 2011 Korean Economic Forum

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External risks continue to threaten the global economy but Korea’s economic growth will likely improve in the second half of 2011 and free trade agreements are poised to increase expansion substantially. Those were among the points made at the Korean Economic Forum, co-hosted by Samsung Economic Research Institute and the Korea JoongAng Daily at the Hotel Shilla on May 25. Among the many distinguished guests were ambassadors, CEOs and foreign correspondents.

Kim Seok-dong, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, gave the keynote speech, cautioning that the IMF’s positive outlook on the global economy could be sideswiped by uncertainties such as the effects of the euro zone fiscal crisis, unrest in the Middle east and the aftermath of the Japan earthquake. The chairman also stressed the importance of effectively managing global capital flows and macroprudential stability. Although financial services in Korea have improved, they still lag in qualitative and quantitative aspects, he said.

During the Q&A session that followed, Mr. Kim said he would welcome bids from foreign investors for the government’s stake in Woori Financial Holdings, Korea’s largest banking group.

The second part of the morning consisted of presentations by two of SERI’s top researchers. Research fellow Shin Changmock from the Macroeconomics Research department, said the Korean economy should grow 1.5% in the second half as private consumption and facilities investment improves and inflation eases. However, year-on-year growth in exports is expected to decline in the second half. Returning to the pre-global financial crisis level is a challenge that both the government and companies must make efforts to overcome, Dr. Shin said.

With the title “The Impact of the KORUS & Korea-EU FTAs and the Future of Korea,” research fellow Kwak Soo-jong from the Global Studies department needs to take advantage of FTAs to further expand economic growth. If enacted, the KORUS FTA will be crucial to the growth of the Korean economy, with increased exports of automobiles, textiles and wireless devices. As for the Korea-EU FTA, Dr. Kwak stated that it will serve as a basis to accelerate the KORUS FTA as well as FTA negotiations with China and Japan. Major export items will mainly be centered on heavy chemical and consumer products. Once Korea’s FTAs with the EU, US and Peru come into effects, Korea’s trade will increase to 35.1%. A Q&A session on the SERI presentations brought the forum to a close. Many of the guests were eager to ask questions on various aspects of the Korea economy especially with respect to FTAs and its effects.

For further details on the presentations please click the PDF icon.

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