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New Global Competitiveness Measures

Posted July. 12, 2006 03:00,   


The Office for Government Policy Coordination has ordered ministries to represent and manage several provisions as successful achievement indicators in an official document titled, “The major goals to achieve international competitiveness in 2006.” The provisions include systemic management of the national competitiveness index of areas requiring special attention, strengthening of responses to international competitiveness assessment conducted by IMD and WEF, and the national competitiveness index.

In particular, it has identified fields of environment, women affairs, and corruption as ones available for enhanced improvements out of 16 major management-requiring areas and ordered to strengthen their strong points while reducing the weak points. The document points out in the 2005 reflection provision that some ministries still focus on enhancing indexes such as false statistical correction and suggestions for improving evaluation measures by international credit rating agencies. As a result, it has led to the lack of practical efforts.

The Office for Government Policy Coordination has ordered to acquire and analyze this year’s results of international competitiveness evaluation conducted by IMD and WEF in advance through the Korean partner (IMD surveys it through Korean partner, the Korean industrial institution) and overseas government establishments. In other words, the government has requested ministries to highlight merits while downplaying faults in order to prepare for an international survey on international competitiveness instead of promoting substantial efforts to enhance the nation’s competitiveness. Korea, however, has declined from the 29th place to 38th in the 2006 international competitiveness yearbook released at the beginning of last May by IMD.

Government ministries have rushed to downplay the decline in the ranking. “It is not fair to say that Korea’s international competitiveness has reduced only based on a change in the international ranking during one year,” said the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. “It is the result of some media’s attempts to downplay the government reform efforts,” the Office for Government Policy Coordination announced. Even some have raised doubts on the possibility that it is trying to direct reports of media to justify government’s stance as it has ordered to recommend the media a specific direction in interpreting the result and systemically respond to false-interpreted reports. Rep. Kim Jung–hoon, who acquired and released the government document, has criticized the government for trying to downplay the weak points instead of making efforts to improve economic fundamentals. He added, “When economic fundamentals become strong and improve, the competitiveness index naturally rises.”

Chin-Ku Lee sys1201@donga.com