A local association of exporters in South Korea on Thursday vowed all-out efforts to boost the country's exports this year, despite what it called many lingering risks at home and abroad.
"The ongoing political turmoil continues to have a great impact on our economy and exports," said Kim In-ho, head of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
"The country failed to achieve its goal to expand exports quantitatively and reach US$1 trillion in trade last year, but I believe we have showed a lot of potential for future growth," he said at the annual assembly of KITA's 700 member firms held in Seoul.
KITA earlier forecast the country's exports to rise 3.9 percent on-year to $516.5 billion this year.
Kim said the key to expanding exports may be small and medium-sized firms, noting their combined exports have been on a steady rise since 2013 despite large cuts in the country's overall exports over the past two years.
In 2015, the country's overall exports plunged 7.9 percent on-year to $527 billion, followed by a 5.9 percent cut to $495.5 billion last year.
"We will work to strengthen the global competitiveness of our small and medium-sized companies. We will work to develop small but strong exporters that are quick to adapt to changes and are armed with new ideas," Kim told the meeting.
The KITA president also vowed efforts to create a better environment for exports and export companies, which he said will require deregulation.
"We will lead the way in fostering export-friendly conditions," he said. "We will continue to demand the removal of excessive regulations while working to develop an indigenous export strategy." (Yonhap)