The Moon Jae-in administration is expected to set up a new control tower for industrial restructuring as soon as its new Cabinet takes shape, inside sources said Monday.
President Moon's official campaign pledges do not specify actions or directions for restructuring. For the shipbuilding and shipping industries that are in the middle of major overhauls, the pledge has been that the two industries cannot be abandoned, and that they will be rebuilt through co-existence.
Hong Jong-haak, a former legislator who served as vice chief of Moon's policy panel, indicated that a basic framework for the new control tower is already in place. "I understand that the emergency economic policy team has already reported directly to the president," he said.
The former Park Geun-hye government initiated an industrial revamp in October 2015, pinpointing shipbuilding, shipping, steel, petrochemicals and construction as the country's weak industries that need urgent restructuring. Different measures were adopted for each industry. In June last year, the deputy premier in charge of economic affairs installed a new ministerial meeting to coordinate different opinions within the government.
But the process was less than perfect. In formulating a rescue package for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, for instance, the financial regulator and the trade ministry insisted on different liquidation costs for the company. In the case of Hanjin Shipping, which went bankrupt in March, its ships were confiscated and barred at overseas ports, while the ill-prepared government scrambled to avoid a cargo transport crisis.
Moon's comments during the presidential campaign were that Daewoo Shipbuilding must be resuscitated at all costs, suggesting that his administration will get actively involved as creditors get ready with 2.9 trillion won (US$2.57 billion) in cash injections.
The problem is that the control tower has to be made up of a number of different agencies, said professor Kim Sang-jo of Hansung University, who had worked in President Moon's campaign team.
"We need a big picture first on how the control tower will be formed and operated." (Yonhap)