S. Korean finance minster vows all-out support for small businesses

March 30, 2016

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea’s finance minister pledged increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Wednesday, noting the future of the country depends not on a handful of large conglomerates but on the vast majority of smaller firms.

In this file photo taken Nov. 18, 2015, Goyang City Mayor Choi Sung (second from L) and Kim Sang-kyu, head of the Public Procurement Service (third from L), pose for a picture after signing a memorandum of understanding on holding the 2016 Korea Public Procurement Expo at KINTEX exhibition center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. The annual expo kicked off on March 30, 2016 for a three-day run. (Yonhap file photo)

In this file photo taken Nov. 18, 2015, Goyang City Mayor Choi Sung (second from L) and Kim Sang-kyu, head of the Public Procurement Service (third from L), pose for a picture after signing a memorandum of understanding on holding the 2016 Korea Public Procurement Expo at KINTEX exhibition center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. The annual expo kicked off on March 30, 2016 for a three-day run. (Yonhap file photo)

Yoo Il-ho said the additional support for small and medium-sized firms will include better access to government procurement programs for smaller firms.

“And the government is doing its utmost to make sure that public procurement programs will fully support such small and medium-sized firms,” he said in special remarks marking the start of the 17th Korea Public Procurement Expo at an exhibition center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.

The annual event is set to run until Friday, with some 250 local firms displaying over 800 products.

Yoo, who is also vice prime minister for economy, said the country was beginning to see some improvements in its key economic indicators, according to a copy of his speech released by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

He, however, insisted such progress could not be maintained without the help or success of small and medium-sized firms that account for 99.8 percent of all companies in the country, as well as 88 percent of all jobs here.

“In revitalizing the country’s economy and enhancing the competitiveness of our SMEs, public procurement programs play an important role that cannot be replaced,” the finance minister said.

To ensure easier access of SMEs to public programs, the government will lower the entry bar for smaller firms, especially new start-up businesses, while also guaranteeing their participation for a set period of time.

The government will also work to help enhance the global competitiveness of SMEs and their products.

“The government will provide preferential treatment to those with outstanding records in exports and employment. It will further revise related regulations to make sure that small and medium-sized firms will not be complacent with simple victory in competition with other local firms, but will continue developing new technologies and explore overseas markets,” Lee said.

“Only active preparation and dealing with changes can ensure the survival and development of our small and medium-sized firms,” he added.

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