S. Korea in talks with China, Japan for high-level exchanges: finance minister

May 28, 2024

South Korean Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok has said the country is in discussions over his likely visit to China and a ministerial meeting with Japan, following up on a trilateral summit held in Seoul this week.

“China has invited me, and we are discussing the schedule,” Choi told reporters during a briefing held in the central city of Sejong the previous day. He noted that possible agenda items could include supply chain issues.

Choi also mentioned that the ministry is in talks with its Japanese counterpart to hold a ministerial meeting, expressing his hope for the event to take place in Seoul if it is arranged.

Choi welcomed the latest decision by Seoul and Beijing to resume the second phase of negotiations for the bilateral FTA to boost service trade and investment in early June. The first phase of the FTA, which took effect in December 2015, removed tariffs on major goods.

“A country that depends on exports should welcome the free market economy and the spread of free trade,” Choi said, noting the move is significant considering the recent fragmentation in the global supply chain.

During the meeting, Choi also noted that the government is currently considering measures to support listed businesses under the recently announced “Corporate Value-up” program.

The initiative focuses on enhancing the value of local businesses whose shares are currently undervalued relative to their fundamentals, aiming to end the so-called Korea discount.

“The program aims to support businesses through tax cuts if they enhance their value and implement investment projects,” Choi said. “By using tax cuts as incentives for specific actions, it differs from general tax cuts.”

The minister also hinted that the government will unveil detailed measures to support the semiconductor industry, the backbone of Asia’s No. 4 economy, around June.