New MKE Minister Pushes the Envelope

Makes a pitch for "$1 trillion administration and $2 trillion policy"

The new Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo delivered his inaugural message in which he made a pitch for what he calls "$1 trillion administration and $2 trillion policy" while taking the helm at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) on Nov. 17.
Minister Hong said, "What I call the $1 trillion administration means that government officials have got to perform their administration of government corresponding to that of a nation which has achieved the $1 trillion trade feat. And what I call the $2 trillion policy means that officials need to implement policies from the bigger figure perspective with the goal of achieving $2 trillion in trade."
As for the "$1 trillion administration," Hong urged his men to communicate with people, companies, public enterprises and other government agencies to break the mold and to become strong MKE officials. He warned of a feeling of inertia that accompanied the way their predecessors behaved 30 years ago and urged his officials to make the MKE an organization filled with expertise and creativity with an innovative mindset.
Explaining the "$2 trillion policy," the new minister suggested three strategies: working together, taking the long-term perspective and finishing up policies.
"All sectors: SMEs and large-scale enterprises; energy and industry; youth and those in the aging generations; technology and manpower in R&D; manufacturing and distribution industries; and industry and culture have to go for the goal of achieving $2 trillion in trade." He called for mid- and long-term industry and energy policies, not short-term ones, systemizing jobs and a focus on infrastructure buildup policies.
Hong urged his officials to review the policies being implemented under the current government and squeeze out their policy solutions.
Hong took office as the MKE minister, replacing outgoing Choi Joong-kyung, who resigned from his position over the latest emergency power cuts across the nation in the face of an impending power shortage, with a ceremony at the Government Complex in Gwacheon at 9 a.m. on Nov. 17 one and a half hours after he received a certificate of appointment from President Lee Myung-bak at Cheong Wa Dae.
Without his inauguration ceremony, MKE Minister Hong was originally scheduled to leave for the 19th ASEAN Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, from Nov. 19-20, accompanying President Lee, who will also make a state visit to the Philippines. At the request of President Lee, Hong instead took the appointment certificate earlier than scheduled and had to finish his inauguration ceremony in 15 minutes. He then accompanied President Lee to Southeast Asia.
Minister Hong, who had a tight schedule on day one in office, will be faced with a pile of pending issues to tackle after returning from his overseas trip on Nov. 22.
The first task Minister Hong will face regards the second round of bidding on selecting budget filling stations, the MKE's brainchild to fend off the existing gas stations with big margins. The first bidding session flopped as would-be gas station bidders failed to meet the government-set price guidelines.
On Nov. 23, Minster Hong is to meet with Chung Un-chan, chairman of the Presidential Commission for Shared Growth for Small and Large Companies, who clashed with Hong's predecessor Choi Joong-kyung over issues such as his proposal for sharing profits. Hong might take a little different stance from his predecessor on policies for SMEs because he served as the administrator of the Small and Medium Business Administration and handled issues on SMEs as the president of KOTRA. Additionally, Hong and Chung are both alumni of Seoul National University.
Hong now has to take steps to ensure a stable supply of electricity during the current winter season so as not to repeat the Sept. 15 nationwide power cuts, as concern is rising that this winter is forecast to see the lowest reserve power levels ever.
He is also charged with ushering in an era of $1 trillion trade. The MKE plans to hold a ceremony to celebrate the nation's achieving the goal of surpassing the $1 trillion trade barrier in early December. nw


The new Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo gives his inaugural speech while taking office at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy on Nov. 17.
Photos on courtesy of the MKE

Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo comes up with the catchphrase " the $1 trillion administration and $2 trillion policy."


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