'Boosting SME Exports to Usher In $2 Tln Trade Era'

KITA Vice Chmn. takes helm at KOTRA

Korea International Trade Association (KITA) Vice Chairman Oh Young-ho took the helm at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the country's export promotion agency, at the KOTRA headquarters in Yeomgok-dong, Seoul, on Dec. 5, replacing Hong Suk-woo, who now becomes the minister of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
In his inaugural speech, KOTRA President Oh stressed the need for providing support to SME exporters in order to usher in an era of $2 trillion trade. "Our top priority will be on offering support for exports by SMEs with the goal of raising the portion of SME exports from the current 30 percent level to 50 percent and 60 percent."
Oh also presented as KOTRA's key task of globalization the exploration of strategic markets, including emerging markets, for securing growth engines.
"KOTRA's key words are globalization and supporting SMEs. To this end, I will put forward the fullest efforts to make management a field-oriented one designed to meet customer satisfaction, and we will not only devote ourselves to exploring areas for fostering and raising future growth engines, but also to creating strategic markets, including emerging markets," the new KOTRA president said.
Oh urged his KOTRA staff to do their utmost in boosting exports after issuing warnings against the possible worsening of the global trade environment next year. "The global trade environment surrounding us is not smooth, and next year will be a year in which you have to pay more attention to boosting exports by addressing trade barriers and exploring new mechanisms."
Oh's inauguration day was a historic day when the nation celebrated the feat of surpassing the $1 trillion trade barrier for the first time in Korean trade history. KOTRA is now required to play more aggressive roles in ushering in an era of $2 trillion trade.
His inaugural speech indicated his determination to push for the goal of breaking the $2 trillion trade barrier.
Oh began his career at the nation's commerce ministry in 1980 and climbed the bureaucratic ladder to become vice minister in early 2007. He worked as the second-in-command of the minister for a year through early 2008.
After retirement, he continued working in a university, but the lifetime bureaucrat returned to the main stage in early 2009 by becoming KITA vice chairman. He was in the spotlight late last year as the commissioner of the Seoul G20 Business Summit Organizing Committee.
The 59-year-old is famous for his democratic style of leadership with outstanding people skills. In particular, he gained a good reputation thanks to his brisk communication with his underlings in both the government and at KITA. nw

The new Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) President Oh Young-ho gives his inauguration speech at the KOTRA headquarters in Seoul on Dec. 5. Photos on courtesy of KOTRA, KITA

An LED signboard lights up in front of the World Trade Center in Samseong-dong, Seoul in celebration of Korea's joining of the $1 trillion trading power club amid a display of wonderful fireworks.

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