President Park presided over the inaugural meeting of a presidential panel on science and technology on May 12 at Cheong Wa Dae. As one solution to overcoming this ordeal lies in science and technology, the government will make sure to overhaul our science technology policies, as well,” the president said. At the conference, President Park and government officials held in-depth discussions on the role of the newly launched science and technology panel, and on the path that new R&D policies should take. They discussed how to overhaul the nation’s R&D system and strategies to carry out reform, as well as how to establish a cooperative network between private organizations in the field. “We will use this channel -- the presidential panel on science and technology -- to put in place a top-down strategy for core science and technology policies and projects, and will also pursue fundamental reform to our current R&D system by resolving differences among government ministries,” President Park stated. The new R&D reform plan released by the government outlines additional funds of 2.81 million SEK (400 billion KRW) targeting basic research, rising to 10.54 billion SEK (1.5 trillion KRW) by 2018. This is up from the 7.73 billion SEK (1.1 trillion KRW) it saw this year. The goal is to cultivate basic scientific research and human resources in the industry. In particular, the government will increase personnel expenses to make up 70 percent of funds contributed to government-funded research institutes in an effort to foster an environment where researchers can focus on long-term R&D projects that could last more than a decade. “Basic research starts with intellectual curiosity among scientists and technicians, but it could be a source of new technologies and industries,” President Park said. “In this sense, government-funded research institutes should focus more efforts on such 'source technology' research, which might be needed by industry in ten years, or on applied research that enterprises can’t afford.” President Park concluded by saying that, “When it comes to private enterprises, the government must tailor its funding to the characteristics of each company, so that they can each play a pivotal role in commercializing research. To make startups grow, from a technologically innovative company to a global hidden champion, there's a need for the government to offer individual companies direct funding tailored to their different growth stages.”
President Park Geun-hye and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, currently on a state visit to Korea, held talks on May 16 at Cheong Wa Dae to bolster their bilateral cooperative relationship. The two leaders agreed to further extend bilateral cooperation so that their relationship would become a comprehensive partnership, and to widen areas of cooperation beyond simply business to include other sectors. To this end, the two leaders agreed to encourage Korean companies to participate in infrastructure construction projects in Indonesia in the energy and transportation sectors, worth some 55.75 billion SEK (6.7 billion USD). The two governments signed a total of 11 memorandums of understanding (MOU). These included eight MOUs covering the economy, including a gas pipeline construction project in Palembang and in Bali, and the Jakarta Light Rail Transit project. The Korean and Indonesian governments also signed MOUs covering the creative industries, and the marine and environmental sectors. President Park said that both presidents will aim at developing a compressive partnership by “expanding cooperation not only in terms of business but also people-to-people exchanges, cultural exchanges, national defense and the defense industries.” “Last year, about 530,000 people from both countries visited each other. More than 40,000 people from Korea and Indonesia are currently working in each other’s countries,” said President Park. She said Korea and Indonesia will work together so that youth exchanges can further expand. She emphasized the importance of close bilateral cooperation, saying, “It's very meaningful that both countries closely cooperate on defense and on the defense industries, which includes the ongoing joint development of a fighter jet.”
Government loosens regulations to enhance high-tech businesses. Restaurants will soon be allowed to deliver meals in two-passenger compact electric vehicles, and companies will be allowed to use drones to transport packages and advertise, part of the government’s bid to deregulate high-tech businesses. The government on Wednesday held a joint ministerial and private sector meeting, hosted by President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in central Seoul, to review regulation reforms. The meeting discussed various issues to vastly improve regulations that have been holding back the establishment of new businesses, as well as enhance competition in areas such as the Internet of Things, drones, autonomous vehicles, bio and health. According to the government, the goal is to ease or eradicate 303 regulations that are deemed to be obstructing the development and progress of new businesses. The deregulation is expected to generate an economic effect of 28.1 billion SEK (4 trillion KRW) in the next three years while contributing to the creation of 13,000 jobs. One of the biggest changes expected with changes in regulations is the appearance of compact electric vehicles (EV), such as the Twizy from Renault Samsung Motors. In May last year, the Korean operation of Renault announced plans for its Twizy compact electric vehicle to be used as a delivery vehicle for the Korean chicken franchise BBQ. It has been considered as convenient next-generation urban transportation, and more than 18,000 units have been sold in Europe. At Wednesday’s meeting, the Transport Ministry said it will allow compact EVs to run on Korean roads if it meets foreign guidelines on safety and performance. Following the government decision, Renault Samsung Motors said it plans to introduce the Twizy to the Korean market in the second half of this year. Additionally, the Transport Ministry said it will allow autonomous vehicles to be tested on all roads in Korea. The only exception will be school districts, due to safety concerns. There are currently only six areas that allow autonomous vehicles to be test-driven. The drone industry will also benefit from deregulation. The government is planning to allow the use of drones as long as they do not threaten public safety. The drone industry is one of the fastest-growing areas, with an average annual expansion of 15 percent. However, until now, drones have been limited to assist in agricultural cultivation, aerial filming, exportation and flight training. The government will no longer demand drone start-ups that operate small-size drones of 25 kilograms (55 pounds) or lighter to fulfill a capital requirement. Previously, all drone companies had to have capital of 210 thousand SEK (30 million KRW). The government is also planning to set up Internet of Things networks to propel high-tech businesses and allow taxies to use an app as a replacement for conventional meter machines in hopes of further advancing online-to-offline business. The testing of new drugs will be made easier to help the bio industry expand. The government will now allow expedited development of drugs by only requiring animal testing, but only in emergency situations like the recent outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome. During the meeting, President Park stressed the urgency and necessity of enforcing the deregulations. “There is an old saying that if you only cut the grass and forget to pull out the roots, the old grass will grow back,” President Park said.
Korea will take over the presidency of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in 2018, and will host the annual summit in May 2019. On the second day of the 2016 ITF, all 57 member countries unanimously agreed Korea will take over the presidency of the forum after Mexico and Latvia. In addition, the Korean transport minister will chair the 2019 summit, which will invite transport policymakers and influential industry figures from around the world. Choi Jeong-ho, Korea’s vice transport minister, sat down with the Korea JoongAng Daily in Leipzig on Thursday to celebrate the appointment. “Chairing the forum will serve as a significant opportunity for Korea to introduce its well-established public transportation system to the world,” Choi said. Since Korea became a member of the ITF in 2007, the country’s transport ministers and government officials have shown constant interest in the world’s biggest transport body by continually participating in the annual event. Korea’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS), which tracks the movement of public buses and subway trains and notifies passengers of arrival time, is being exported to Colombia. The ministry plans to export the system to a number of other countries, as well. Although Korea will host the 2019 summit, it will take place in Leipzig. The ministry is planning to bring Korean carmakers and transport-related businesses to Germany to give them the chance to demonstrate their cutting-edge technologies and services. “K-food, K-culture and K-transportation could be a possible theme, enabling us to give participants a chance to experience Korean food, culture and transportation services,” the official said.
A Korean consortium is soon to take on a new city construction project in Kuwait, a nation that has been suffering from a shortage of adequate housing. Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kang Hoin and Kuwait's Minister of State for Housing Affairs Yasser Hassan Abul signed a memorandum of understanding on May 9 covering the construction of a new urban development project near the Kuwaiti capital. The new construction project has been discussed since March last year when President Park Geun-hye visited Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government requested that the president push for collaboration on developing and managing the new city, eventually to help ease housing pressures in the nation. "This joint project to develop a new city, initially brought to the fore during the president's visit to Kuwait last year, has finally come to fruition through continuous bilateral collaboration. I'm very pleased with this achievement," said Minister Kang. The minister said that he hopes Korea's experience of urban planning, which made use of domestic ICT and "smart city" technologies, would be well-applied to the new Kuwaiti city, and that it would eventually help ease housing problems across the Middle East nation.
Nyheterna är sammanställda av YoonJung Ku och Niklas Z Kviselius vid Tillväxtanalys kontor i Tokyo och från Seoul.