Gov’t to support exporters under contingency plan amid Middle East crisis

South Korea's industry ministry said Monday that the government plans to provide support, such as trade financing, to exporters depending on various scenarios in the wake of Iran's recent missile and drone strikes against Israel. Iran conducted the attack Saturday in retaliation for Israel's airstrike on Iran's diplomatic complex in Syria earlier this month, sparking further geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East. "So far, (the attack) did not have a direct impact on the delivery of export goods," First Vice Industry Minister Kang Kyung-sung said during a meeting in the central city of Sejong. Kang, however, said as the current issue could potentially increase the logistics costs for South Korean companies, similar to the impact of the Red Sea incident last November, the government plans to implement a contingency plan in collaboration with the private sector to provide the necessary support. "While the Middle East takes up a small portion of South Korea's exports, we need to remain vigilant as th e impact is significant considering fuel and shipping costs," Kang said. The first vice minister noted the government plans to provide shipping vouchers and additional trade financing to affected exporters, with specific measures tailored to various scenarios. As for the country's exports, Kang said outbound shipments of key products, including chips, automobiles and ships, are anticipated to maintain solid growth throughout April. South Korea's exports rose 21.6 percent on-year in the first 10 days of April on robust global demand for semiconductors. Chip exports jumped 45.5 percent, and those of automobiles went up 8.6 percent over the period. Source: Yonhap News Agency