An Occasion for New Determination

Construction industry ushers in the New Year celebrating its brilliant achievement of over $70 bln in overseas projects


Minister of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Chung Jong-hwan delivers a congratulatory speech at the New YearOs reception held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul.


Chairman Kwon Hong-sa of the Federation of Construction Associations, Reps. Jang Kwang-keun, and Kim Hee-chull, Chairman Kim Joong-kyum of the Korea Housing Association, Chairman Lee Jae-kyun of the Overseas Contractors Association of Korea, among others, at the New YearOs gathering for the construction industry held at Hotel Lotte in Seoul on Jan. 7 are showing their determinations to help the construction industryOs growth this year.

The construction industry held its New Year's reception on Jan. 7 at the Crystal Ballroom of the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul, hosted by the Federation of Construction Associations with the attendance of some 1,000 people led by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, related government officials, legislators, heads of construction firms, associations, economic organizations, journalists and academics, among them.
Prime Minister Kim, through his on screen speech, said the government will back up the construction industry's aims to become the fifth largest in the world in terms of undertaking new overseas projects this year and the government will strategically support the growth of the water resources industry as well as the urban development, transportation infrastructure and green energy sectors this year.
Minister Chung Jong-hwan of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in his speech at the reception, "The ministry's target for this year is 'Growing Together and Realizing a First-Rate Country Leading the World,' and we plan to make all kinds of efforts to realize the target this year."
Chung continued, "In order to build the nation, first, the effectiveness of the government budget execution has to be upgraded, eliminating wastes; second is to revise regulations on cities, construction and residences to the extent that the people can really feel the change; third is to make the ministry's policies satisfactory enough to move the people; the fourth is to replace the words 'civil' and 'land' in the ministry's name with the image of environment, culture and sensitivity, reflecting societal changes." He said he would like to see all the organizations under the ministry and related ones follow the ministry's targeted policies this year.
It's been four years since the ministry was reorganized and changed its name. Minister Chung said he would like to lead the ministry to conclude the projects that it began rather than issuing new policies and projects this year.
OWe have to move the people with our policies, not just impress them this year in such a way as to win their confidence," Chung said. OWe have to work like rabbits, as this year's is the year of the rabbit in the lunar calendar, wisely and diligently like the symbols of the animal; wisdom, affluence and subtlety in executing the responsibility bestowed on us this year."
Chairman Kwon Hong-sa of the Federation of Construction Associations, in his speech at the event, said the construction industry helped the nation overcome the global financial crisis in 1998 and become a strong construction nation with the power made up of relentless energy, passion and dynamism. He said the industry's overseas projects won last year exceeded $70 billion, the largest in its history. Kwon said if the Korean construction industry were able to continue to have that dynamic strength for the next 10 years, it will have a super competitive power in the world.
"We expect the construction industry will have a difficult time this year with the real estate sector expected to remain sluggish for some time coupled with local governments and state-run companies expected to cut their construction project investments," Kwon said. "The industry needs to search for new growth engines this year more than ever as we did in high-speed rail construction and nuclear power plant construction by developing new technologies to make the industry globally competitive in those sectors.
"We ought to focus on sharpening our competitive strength in such key sectors as environmentally friendly green growth, we must nurture talented personnel and boost the image of the Korean construction industry abroad to make a difference in the global construction market," Kwon said.
The chairman also noted that this year is the final year for the completion of the Four Rivers Restoration Project and "we ought to put everything we have into the project to finish the project perfectly to eliminate criticism that it is an environmentally damaging one, and make those rivers beautiful to show that human beings and nature can live together happily and pass this on to future generations."

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