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Working Paper

Economic Development and External Policy in Korea

페이스북
커버이미지
  • 저자 김재원(金裁元)
  • 발행일 1990/01/01
  • 시리즈 번호 9001
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요약 The full- scale economic development of Korea has begun
in early 1960s when the 1st 5-year economic development plan
was formulated and implemented. Since Korea is a largely
represented by industrialization has proceeded through
outward-looking strategy.

Korea has attained high economic growth in the past, but
this growth was often accompanied by a high rate of inflation.
One of major reasons for this phenomenon was high ratio of
foreign savings. In addition, economic development was initiated
by government. Government intervention into the private sector
has played a very important role in fueling the economy, but it
has also resulted uneven distribution of governmental support
across industries. All these actions are regarded as having
produced a distortion of the industrial structure. Consequently,
the industrial readjustment and restructuring to make it
consistent with Korea`s resource endowment is the most
important economic policy at present.

Some economists argue that there is a sequence in adjusting
domestic economic structure. That is, internal adjustment should
come first, followed by external adjustment. For the internal
adjustment, the government shifted policy orientation from direct
intervention into the private sector through tax incentives, direct
subsidies and favorable bank loan rates to some strategic
industries to indirect and neutral incentive-giving through market
function. For this purpose, especially from early 1980s, policy
reforms have been undertaken. Financial market restructuring
and the trade liberalization were two major policy turnaround.
To facilitate those policy reforms, the government has
successfully stabilized price by strictly manipulating money
supply and curtailing government budget.

In the course of policy reforms, very fortunately to Korea,
the world economic environment also has changed favorably.
The "three blessings", in other words, the breakdown of cartel
price of oil, low international interest rates and the appreciation
of Japanese Yen have made the Korean economy leap one more
time in the middle of 1980s. By the help of those three blessings
the Korean economy could have grown faster than 12% a year
in three consecutive years from 1986 and the chronic balance of
payments deficit turned around to a surplus. During those years,
the surplus management was the most important short-run
policy objective. The money supply increase due to a huge
balance of payments surplus, which Korea has never experienced
before, was almost exploding and it was a serious threat to
domestic inflation.

Because of the drastic wage rate increase in last three
years, appreciation of Korean Won and further opening of
domestic import market, Korea`s balance of payment surplus in
1989 is expected to reduce to $7 billion and GNP growth rate
will be lowered to around 7%. Moreover, Korea`s exports have
been concentrated in several strategic industries such as textiles,
electronics, transportation equipments and iron and steel, and
Korea`s export markets were also concentrated in several
regions such as US, Japan and EEC countries. These two
phenomena have caused trade conflict among those countries. As
a result, great efforts are being made to diversify both export
products and markets. On the other hand, the Korean
government has made a schedule from 1992. By that time, the
Korean economy will have a perfectly advanced structure.
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