Dear honorable members.
A new year began with dreams and hopes. I want all the happiness, good health and peace to the family of our trade members in 2019. In addition, I wish all of our companies a great accomplishment.
Last year, there were many difficulties outside, but with the efforts of our trade industry, exports has successfully made another milestone. Exports have surpassed the spot of $ 600 billion and ranked seventh highest in the world. In the meantime, we achieved USD1 trillion in trade in the shortest time, showing the strength of our trade both inside and outside the country. We also made a step forward in terms of quality. With exports of new industries such as electric vehicles, advanced new materials and robots showed double-digit growth. And trade surplus in materials and components was the highest ever. Semiconductor has surpassed $ 100 billion in exports for the first time in a single product category, thereby enhancing the country's position as a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse. While securing advanced technology with a bold investment ahead of its competitors, trade has become a major factor in innovative growth.
This year should be a turning point for our economy to take a leap forward to a 'sustainable growth in economies' that attempts to satisfy the needs of everyone. To this end, we should once again be the driving force behind leading the new challenges of the Korean economy. The global economy is demanding more challenges this year. Globally, low-growth and low-consumption are emerging as 'New Normal'. And there are concerns that monetary tightening in advanced economies and financial instability in emerging economies may expand. Despite trade talks between the United States and China to resolve trade friction, trade tensions between the two countries are continuing. The slowdown in the growth of the G2 economy is adding to the risk of shrinking global trade. In addition, competition between countries and between enterprises is getting worse while the countries around the world have pursued the fourth industrial revolution to creatively integrate information technology (ICT) such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet (IoT) into existing industries.
At this point, we must completely change the structure and composition of the trade so that we can convert the accumulated quantitative achievements into qualitative values. Our trade requires the transformation of its trade paradigm from an 'imitative way' that follows the existing method to a "leading innovation" which is a creative and more human-centered way. More new export products and business models should be created with innovative technologies and creative ideas. By making bold investments for next-generation technology, Korea should foster companies that lead the global market. In addition, industrial ecosystem should be upgraded with smart technology and environment friendly society.
Above all, we want to create a coexistent business ecosystem in which technical cooperation between large corporations and small and medium sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) actively takes place. Large corporations with global competitiveness must constantly create new value in their business area and share it with innovative SMEs, so that our economy can be reborn into a healthy constitution.
The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) will do its best to find new export engines and strengthen the global capabilities of our companies this year. We will deeply analyze the changes in the global trade structure and lay out future strategies of our companies based on this analysis. We will analyze the opportunities and risks of our export through participation in Global Value Chain (GVC) in a rapidly changing trading environment. And it will promote the continuous growth of trade. In addition, the establishment of a big data platform based on trade statistics will help develop export markets with customized information optimized for the growth stage of the company. We will constantly monitor and suggest improvements to regulations and difficulties that impede the growth of start-ups filled with innovative technologies and ideas and their entry into overseas markets.
It will also try to cope with the new trade orders and expand the external economy of the export market. It will closely monitor the sporadic trade issues of the U.S. automobiles, trade conflict between the U.S. and China, tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and establish a new trade roadmap for private sector trade for the industry. In line with the government's policy of "New South and New North Policies of Korea,", we will further study market diversification strategies and expand market access by expanding private economic cooperation so that Korean companies can actively enter emerging and promising markets.
Dear honorable members.
Right now, countries around the world are doing their best to innovate in manufacturing. We hope that 2019 will be a year in which exports will be able to exert greater power, and enhance the competitiveness of the flagship industry and revitalize the manufacturing industry. In addition, we expect to expand the development of promising service industries such as cultural contents, tourism, logistics, and MICE, and to expand overseas. So that exports will be a solid foundation for employment creation and domestic consumption promotion. I would like to ask all of you to show your entrepreneurial spirit once again and actively take on new challenges through innovation and investment. Once again, all of us will be able to leap forward if Korea becomes a new starting point for innovation.
The year 2019 is the year of the Golden Pig, which is rich in wealth and great blessing. If our members hope for the future and strive for innovation and challenge, it will be remembered as a year of progress toward sustainable growth in economics that not only promotes innovation but also enriches the lives of all people out there. The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) will continue to be your trustworthy partner, continuing to do our utmost to enhance the competitiveness of our company and help you to enter the world market.
Again, I wish you all the great accomplishment and strong success of our members. Happy New Year.
In the New Year 2019
Korea International Trade Association Chairman Kim, Young Ju