AMRO Director Dr Junhong Chang (second from right) delivers opening remarks at the roundtable discussion on Korean economy on August 23, 2017 in Seoul, Korea.

SEOUL, KOREA, August 23, 2017 – The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) today hosted a roundtable discussion with distinguished experts to discuss recent developments of the Korean economy and challenges for sustainable growth for the country. The roundtable was hosted by AMRO Director Dr Junhong Chang and supported by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of Korea.

Moderated by AMRO Advisory Panel member Professor Kyung Wook Hur, the discussion panel consisted of AMRO Chief Economist Dr Hoe Ee Khor; Dr Junghun Kim, Vice President of the Korea Institute of Public Finance; Dr Joohoon Kim, Chief Economist of the Korea Development Institute; Dr Jae-Ha Park, Senior Research Fellow of the Korea Institute of Finance; Dr Taeyoon Sung, Professor of Economics of Yonsei University; Dr Gyu-Don Jung, President of the Korea Center for International Finance; and Dr Sumio Ishikawa, AMRO Lead Economist and mission chief for Korea.

“As one of the largest economies and foreign investors in the region, Korean economy plays a key role in shaping the regional economy. The distinguished panelists today brought to the table a good mix of expertise, ranging from finance, fiscal policy, industry, to macroeconomics, and external economics to help us better understand and assess the economy,” said AMRO Director Dr Junhong Chang in her opening remarks. “As a young economic surveillance organization, we are eager to learn from experts to enhance our capacity to better contribute to safeguarding the economic and financial stability in the East Asia region.”

Distinguished panelists at the roundtable discussion. From right to left, first row: Dr Taeyoon Sung, Dr Joohoon Kim, Dr Jae-Ha Park, Dr Junghun Kim, and Dr Gyu-Don Jung.

The panel generally agreed that Korea’s economic growth is expected to expand further, mainly driven by private investment, sound export performances, and expansionary fiscal policy. Regarding the risk factors facing the Korean economy, policymakers should pay attention to negative impacts arising from trade protectionism, low birthrate, geopolitical tensions, and household debt.

With respect to the Korean government’s new economic policy package, the panel assessed that it will be conducive to inclusive growth by focusing more on raising household income and employment. The panel also emphasized the need for fiscal sustainability and stressed the need for a stronger expenditure restructuring.

Moving forward, the panel suggested that the government should pay more attention to structural reforms, build a stronger social safety net to protect vulnerable groups, and prepare the education system and research and development for the fourth industrial revolution.

The roundtable is part of the ongoing Annual Consultation Visit that AMRO conducts on a yearly basis with its members. The discussion today will provide inputs for AMRO’s assessment report on Korean economic developments and outlook, which will be prepared after the visit.