KITA News and Reports
  • Korean Trade Needs to Act as Catalyst for Recovery of Multilateralism
    2017-04-19

     

    Korean Trade Needs to Act as Catalyst for Recovery of Multilateralism

           -       KITA held ‘The 50th Anniversary of Korea with GATT Forum”  -

     

    The Korea International Trade Association (Chairman, Kim In-ho) jointly held a 'The 50th Anniversary of Korea with GATT Forum' with Seoul National University’s School of International Studies at the Trade Tower in Samseong-dong, Seoul on Thursday, April 13. This forum was designed to celebrate the 50 years since Korea joined the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) on April 14, 1967 and discussed the value of multilateral trade liberalization and the future of Korean trade.

     

    The panels who participated in the forum agreed that Korea should actively act as a catalyst for the recovery of the multilateral trading system in the future as the country has benefited the most from the multilateral trade liberalization through GATT over the past 50 years.

     

    The United States, who used to lead the multilateral trading system, has recently turned to protectionism and is trying to weaken the WTO (World Trade Organization) dispute settlement process and the EU is fully occupied to solve its own problems due to Brexit. Therefore, the panels argued that since other major emerging countries including China and India are not demonstrating their multilateral leadership, it is important for medium-sized trading powers such as Korea need to create an atmosphere to denounce protectionism by reinvigorate the multilateral trading system.

     

    Chairman Kim In-ho of the Korea International Trade Association illustrated in his opening speech that Korea is a 'role model' that exemplifies the purpose and effect of developing countries participating in multilateral trade liberalization as the Korean economy has developed remarkably since the country joined GATT. He continued to state that Korea has been assured the importance of openness through its experiences that retail markets, IT products, and the movie industry have increased their competitiveness after they opened their markets. He also stressed that it is required for Korea to seek its economic growth strategy by pursuing a higher level of comprehensive market opening.

     

    Deputy Minister Woo Tae-hee, of Commerce, Industry and Energy said in his congratulatory speech that Korea has earned the reputation of a great trading nation as the country has signed free trade agreements with 52 countries based on the experience of the GATT system. He also mentioned that regarding the direction of Korea’s multilateral trade policy, Korea will utilize the WTO as a channel to take care of unfair trade measures and Korea will continue to promote multilateral trade negotiations, but will strengthen the supports for the damages caused by trade liberalization.

     

    Kim Jong-gab, Chairman of Siemens Korea, who participated in the discussion as a representative of businessmen, said that Korea should not forget that the country is in an important position when it comes to the international trade and even the Economist, the influential economic weekly of Britain, used Korea to forecast the global trade. He also added that Korea needs to create opportunities for economic rebound through continuous development of trade liberalization, attracting foreign investment, and expanding exchanges of technology and human resources.

     

    Professor Park Tae-ho at Seoul National University 's Graduate School of International Studies, the former Trade Minister, stressed that Korea needs to continue to expand its trade around the world in the future and trade policy should be one of the top priorities for the future administration of the country. In order to do this, he emphasized that it is necessary to establish a national consensus on the importance of international trade, and furthermore, it is very important for Korea to instill an image of Korea’s solid support for free trade and multilateral trade system in the international community.

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