Korea-EU Economic Roundtable Luncheon hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, Seoul, 11 June, 2020
1. On 11 June 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki hosted a luncheon gathering the Ambassadors of the EU Member States, and EU Ambassador Michael Reiterer, at the Four Seasons hotel. This Korea-EU Economic Roundtable Luncheon is held annually, and this was the second edition. Deputy Prime Minister Hong gave a presentation about Korea’s health and economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by an extensive Q/A session.
2. EU Ambassadors had a one-hour thorough exchange with Deputy Prime Minister Hong, allowing them to raise questions on a vast array of topics, including the country’s growth prospects, fiscal and monetary policy, public debt sustainability, the Korean New Deal, the country’s energy policy, border control measures affecting the mobility of persons, fair treatment of foreign-investors. In. EU Ambassadors offered insightful views on South-Korea’s Green New Deal as inspired by the EU, and strongly encouraged South-Korea to successfully transform the economy and society in more sustainable ways – COVID crisis induced investment into green and not black economy in the interest of future generations. The Deputy Prime Minister showed interest in the green Danish transition from shipbuilding to wind power. Deputy Prime Minister Hong and EU Ambassadors shared a view that both sides should find ways for facilitating the resumption of essential cross-border travels of businesspeople.
3. Deputy Prime Minister explained that Korea had successfully flattened the curve of new virus infections through the bold adoption of technology-based and innovative tools for testing and contact-tracing regimes, and the stable supply of protective products. He underlined that all these efforts have enabled distancing in daily life in Korea, without a complete shutdown, and that Korea has started to see some positive recovery signals. The Korean economy is predicted to contract only 1.2% this year, a generally better performance than its OECD peers.
4. Deputy Prime Minister Hong provided an overview of the new economic policies for the second half of the year, including Korea’s Digital New Deal and Green New Deal investment projects that would play a pivotal role in reshaping the post-pandemic economy.