President Moon Jae-in on May 22 gives a speech at a ceremony in Osong, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, announcing the government’s vision of fostering the biohealth industry as a next-generation engine for economic growth. (Cheong Wa Dae)

President Moon Jae-in on May 22 gives a speech at a ceremony in Osong, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, announcing the government's vision of fostering the biohealth industry as a next-generation engine for economic growth. (Cheong Wa Dae)

By Jung Joo-ri and Lee Jihae 

President Moon Jae-in on May 22 announced the government's road map for fostering the biohealth industry as a new engine for economic growth. 

At a seminar in Osong, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, he said plans are in place to have the domestic sector for pharmaceuticals and medical devices grab 6 percent of the global market, hit USD 50 billion in exports and become one of the country's five biggest export industries by 2030. 

The Korean biosimilar industry accounted for two-thirds of the world's market share last year and the country's biopharmaceutical production was second globally, the president said, adding, "Now is the perfect chance for us to lead the global biohealth market." 

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy and Finance also announced a joint strategy to innovate the next-generation sector. The plan's focus is the development of non-memory semiconductors, future mobility and bio-health as core industries, and stimulation of the economy through the advancement of the bio-health sector and promotion of public health under the motto "human-centered innovative growth."

The government intends to foster the innovation system for biohealth, mainly in pharmaceuticals, from the early stages of technological development, licensing, production and sale on the market. It will also expand R&D, tax support and deregulation to meet global standards.


According to a report by the OECD, Korea has set a 1.1 percent economic growth rate in the first quarter of 2018. The photo shows workers taking a break at the Yeosu Industrial Complex. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Yoonseo and Hahm Hee-eun

Korea's economic growth rate in the first quarter of 2018, from January to March, rose 1.1 percent, placing the country fifth among member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). 

In the fourth quarter last year, Korea demonstrated its second lowest economic growth rate in the OECD (0.2 percent), following Norway (0.3 percent). This year it has recovered its growth rate. 

The OECD reported on May 27 that the average economic growth rate of its 23 member states in the first quarter of 2018 was 0.5 percent. 

Korea, which achieved a 1.1 percent economic growth rate in the previous quarter, is now ranked fifth after Latvia (1.7 percent), Poland (1.6 percent) and Hungary (1.2 percent) and Chile (1.2 percent). Finland and Mexico also recorded a growth rate of 1.1 percent, tyeing for fifth place with Korea.

Previously in March, the OECD released its “Interim Economic Outlook,” and predicted that Korea's economic growth rate would be 3 percent in 2018 and 2019.


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that Korea’s economic growth this year will be 3.0 percent, according to the ‘Asian Development Outlook 2018’ report published on April 11. (Asian Development Bank)

By Lee Yoonseo and Kim Young Shin

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts that Korea's GDP growth in 2018 will be 3.0 percent, and that the average GDP growth rate for its basket of 45 developing Asian economies will be 6.0 percent, it said in its "Asian Development Outlook 2018" released on April 11. 

According to the report, thanks to growth in world trade after 2017, robust consumer demand, and India’s rebound, the average GDP of Asian countries will see steady growth of 6.0 percent in 2018 and 5.9 percent in 2019. The ADB also pointed out the risks facing Asian economies, such as the possibility of tension over trade, a faster rise in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and rising household and nonfinancial corporate debt. 

By subregion, the ADB predicted economic growth in Central Asia to be 4 percent in 2018, in East Asia to be 6 percent and in Southeast Asia to be 5.2 percent. 

Korea is expected to have had a steady growth rate of 3.1 percent in 2017, and then see 3.0 percent growth in 2018 and 2.9 percent in 2019. These are thanks to the economic recovery of its main economic blocs, improved consumer confidence, and expanded consumption due to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The report also said that the recent improvements in diplomatic relations between Korea and China would also have a positive influence on Korea’s exports. 

The ADB advised that, although Korea keeps a low and stable inflation rate, it should draft laws that would help the growth of small- and medium-sized corporations, and reform its labor market, in order to ensure continued economic growth and increased employment among young people.

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