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MOFAT Set to Prop Up Small and Midsized Companies

Posted April. 09, 2004 21:20,   


“Sustainable growth will be unlikely if the economy continuously depends on export-oriented growth,” Minister of Finance and Economy Lee Hun-jai said on April 9. “The government will take measures to strengthen small and midsized companies and venture capital-bred enterprises.”

“The government will help new business ventures to create new jobs, actively breed the service and highly value-added knowledge-based industries, and implement mid- and long-term tasks for new growth industries,” Lee said in a regular press briefing.

“I expect that investment and spending will gradually turn around during the second quarter,” he said. “The economy will be on normal growth course in the second half of the year.”

At the briefing on April 9, Lee apologized to reporters for the premeditated press briefing a week ago.

Before the press briefing on April 2, he asked some reporters to ask him a question about the fact that one of cases for the Roh impeachment was his alleged mismanagement of the economy. And he answered, “It is regrettable to see economy policy and policy consequences being subject to judiciary ruling. The economic recession last year must not be blamed on the current government.” His maneuvering has since been criticized as inappropriate for a finance ministry who should remain politically neutral ahead of the elections.

Asked whether he has tampered with the briefing with premeditations, he answered, “I don’t want to further comment on it because I must not influence the Constitutional Court,” Lee added. “If I hurt your self esteem and feelings, I will apologize.”

“I was preparing to express my opinion about the issue that day, regardless of being asked or not about it,” he said. “Someone told me that reporters would likely ask the question.”

Jong-Sik Kong kong@donga.com