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`President’s Latin America tour to shore up economic vitality`

`President’s Latin America tour to shore up economic vitality`

Posted April. 15, 2015 03:48,   


“It is a very important tour in that it will help increase the nation’s economic vitality through advancement into emerging markets.”

This is how Ahn Jong-beom, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, defined Park’s Latin American tour on Tuesday. He stressed repeatedly the importance of the Latin American market. He apparently made remarks in consideration of critical public opinions on the president’s tour that starts on Thursday, the day of the Sewol disaster’s first anniversary. The presidential secretary made all-out efforts to emphasize the significance of President Park’s tour to Latin America, in the face of the main opposition party’s demand to postpone her tour, while the state administration is on shaky ground due to backlash of the "Sung Wan-jong Gate."

“Latin America is an emerging market with robust purchasing power, and is a pillar of growth in the global market,” said the presidential secretary. The four countries namely Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Brazil that the president will visit during her tour have a combined population of 290 million, which accounts for 48 percent of the entire Latin American population. They have a combined annual GDP of 3 trillion U.S. dollars, which translates into a 52 percent of Latin America’s GDP. They have made an annual economic growth of about 5 percent, and saw the portion of their middle class population expand from 21 percent in 1995 to 41 percent in 2010. With the market expanded, the possibility for Korean companies to make a foray has also increased, the presidential aide noted.

The four South American countries are pushing to conduct massive infrastructure projects in line with plans to modernize their nations. Chile plans to invest 7.9 billion dollars in 29 projects, including ports and airports by 2020 in accordance with its "balanced development plan." Ahn said, “(Using the president’s tour as a turning point), Korean companies will make inroads into the construction, planting and infrastructure market in earnest, and personnel exchanges will be expanded so that young Korean human resources can advance into the Latin American market.” The largest ever delegation of 125 companies will accompany the president in the upcoming tour.

“Since it is a promise between countries, and a tour aimed at developing new markets, I think we should proactively make the visit,” Joo Cheol-ki, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, refuted the opposition party’s demand for postponement of the president’s visit.