|President Moon Jae-in answers reporters' questions on the government's economic policies during his New Year press conference at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday. Yonhap|
In his New Year press conference at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday, the President said his new team of economic advisers led by the finance minister will implement a policy spurring innovation to revitalize manufacturing.
His "slight policy shift" with more focus on innovation comes amid a weak job market, a manufacturing downturn and growing inequality.
This does not mean the government will drop its policy aimed at boosting wages and wealth distribution.
"We are very aware of the situation in which trust in the government's economic policy has been shattered," Moon told reporters.
"If the government needs to make fine adjustments to its economic policy, it will do so after discussing the matter."
He reiterated that his administration's innovation and income-led policies, and a policy promoting fair competition should all continue to be implemented to achieve inclusive growth and improve inequality.
Although the system of wealth distribution has improved, it is not being felt by all people, he said.
However, Moon added workers have to admit the fact that the government is really trying hard to help improve their lives and increase their wages.
But he said that they should also understand that their lives will not get better if the policy supporting their wages puts the economy into difficulty.
In addition to providing assistance to small businesses and the self-employed beset by the fast rise in the minimum wage, the administration will pursue regulatory reforms to create new industries.
It will do so in line with the innovation policy.
"I sincerely understand the difficulties companies face in commercializing their technologies because of regulations," Moon said.
He also noted that regulatory reform is causing social conflict between existing and new players, citing the recent one between taxis and ride-sharing application developers.
It is very hard for the government to come up with a decision that can satisfy both sides, but the administration will continue to persuade all parties in creating new industries, he said.
"The innovation policy will seek to revitalize the conventional manufacturers such as automobiles and petrochemicals, and will aim to develop new industries for new growth."
To this end, the government will actively support startups founded by people of all ages, whether they are young or old, and move to develop a "new economy" through the use of technologies such as data analysis, artificial intelligence and hydrogen power.
Also, the President said the government will try to revitalize regional economies through public infrastructure projects.
However, it may be difficult for regional administrations in partnership with private companies to get approval for certain projects as their feasibility studies mostly fail to meet strict standards.
Moon said the government is considering other options such as listing and prioritizing projects that are most needed in certain regions, and to start the development without conducting feasibility studies.