South Korea's per capita income is expected to surpass US$30,000 for the first time, the finance minister said Monday, a dramatic rags-to-riches success story that has no parallel in contemporary history, Yonhap reports.
Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said the country's per capita gross national income (GNI) in 2018 likely topped the milestone as the central bank is set to release a preliminary data on Tuesday.
South Korea would be the seventh country in the world to join the so-called 30-50 club of economic powerhouses with a population of over 50 million and per capita income exceeding $30,000.
The development is a dramatic increase from 1970, when South Korea's per capita gross national income stood at just $257.
On Monday, the government unveiled a set of measures to ensure that South Korea can reach the $600 billion mark in exports for the second straight year in 2019.
The move came as South Korea's outbound shipments fell 11.1 percent in February from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month that outbound shipments backtracked.
Hong said South Korea will open a center in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, later this month to support South Korean firms' bids to win plant projects in central Asia. The government will also set up an ASEAN desk in the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to help South Korean companies make inroads into Southeast Asia.
Seoul has sought stronger economic relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as part of efforts to reduce its heavy reliance on trade with the United States and China, and foster new growth drivers.
The ASEAN member countries are Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, with their combined population estimated at 640 million.
South Korea said it aims to export $7.7 billion worth of South Korean agricultural products and $2.5 billion worth of seafood in 2019, up 11 percent and 5 percent from a year earlier, respectively.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will push to make sure South Korean seafood can be sold at global retail giant Amazon as well as Tmall, China's largest open business-to-consumer platform.
South Korea's seafood exports to Japan, China and the U.S. came to $1.43 billion in 2018, accounting for 60.2 percent of its total seafood exports in that year.
Source: Kazinform News Agency
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