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Pres.-elect chairs 1st meeting of transition commitee

Posted January. 08, 2013 03:59,   


President-elect Park Geun-hye on Monday chaired the first meeting of her presidential transition committee to draw a detailed picture of her pledges she made in her election campaign.

She specifically suggested the revival of small- and mid-size businesses and assistance to low-income households, and asked the committee and government ministries to devise detailed solutions to benefit small companies, the needy and the economically marginalized.

“Helping small- and mid-size businesses to revive is very important,” she said in the meeting at the Korea Banking Institute in downtown Seoul, adding, “If you care more about small things that make such companies suffer than big agenda items, people will feel the difference.”

Park mentioned small businesses again less than two weeks after telling the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business that she would become a "small and medium business president" on Dec. 26 last year.

In addition, her stress on small businesses in the transition committee`s first meeting seems to indicate that she will focus on them in government policies over her five-year term. The committee is expected to seriously discuss implementing her pledges such as supporting R&D for small companies, forming an integrated support system for small business owners, and raising the effectiveness of the business category suitable for such companies.

The committee will also mull methods of helping low-income households. The National Happiness Fund, a Park pledge to rescue credit delinquents, is expected to be launched as early as this year`s first half. The fund will write off half to 70 percent of the principal and interest of defaulted debts and convert the remainder into long-term loans.

In addition, the committee will try to reduce the rapid fluctuation of foreign exchange rates to stabilize prices, which have a direct impact on low-income households.

“The won`s appreciation against the U.S. dollar can be helpful to stabilizing prices but the sharp movement of the exchange rate doesn`t help businesses and households,” a committee source said, adding, “We need to discuss stabilizing the forex market by creating an FX management system customized for Korea.”

Thus the committee is said to be reviewing the introduction of a bond transaction tax to curb the inflow and outflow of foreign currencies. The president-elect excluded the Tobin Tax, which directly taxes foreign exchange transactions, from her final campaign pledges as being discriminatory to Korean investors against non-Korean investors, so the tax`s introduction could proceed more slowly and carefully.