Although South Korea is recovering relatively quickly from the worldwide recession in the wake of the U.S. financial sector crisis, it must address major structural weaknesses if it is to sustain growth over the long term. The Korean manufacturing sector is one of the world’s strongest and most efficient, but the services and (much smaller) agriculture sectors remain weak. Former senior South Korean economic policy official Byongwon Bahk argues that only by benchmarking the near miraculous success of its manufacturing sector can Korea convert traditionally weak sectors into new sources of job creation and foreign currency earnings. He will explain the necessity of, and obstacles to, inducing capital, technologies, and marketing from advanced companies in advanced countries; supporting R&D activities and education and training in weak sectors; and opening weak sectors to domestic and foreign competition.
Byongwon Bahk, a former senior South Korean government official, is the Korean Studies Program’s 2009-2010 Koret Fellow. During the past decade, he was in charge of the management of Korean macro-economic policy at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, including as vice minister. Most recently, he served in the Blue House as the senior economic advisor to President Lee Myung-bak. He received a BA and an MA in Law from Seoul National University, an MA in Industrial Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Korea, and an MA in Economics from University of Washington.
This event is supported by a generous grant from the Koret Foundation.