Infrastructure ministry vows to revive Korea’s overseas construction boom


The government will help builders win overseas construction contracts totaling $50 billion (65.8 trillion won) each year, as part of a broader policy initiative to revive the local industry that has yet to bounce back from years of stagnation, the infrastructure ministry said Monday.t

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said local builders with greater, more advanced capabilities will be able to meet overseas construction demands, especially from war-torn Ukraine and Iraq, among other countries in need of advanced city planning.

The ministry said it can provide a “construction package” encompassing the establishment of railways, airports and cities. Also in demand will be, the ministry said, smart technology-mediated city planning and landscape building, an area of expertise Korea has nurtured over the past few years.

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“We will take a leap forward in overseas construction through what we have termed ‘K-Smart Infrastructure,’ set to be announced next month,” Construction Minister Won Hee-ryong said Monday. “Comprehensive and detail-oriented plans will help Korea win a higher number of overseas construction projects,” he added.

The government seeks to revitalize the local construction industry that saw advance overseas orders fall from a peak of $71.6 billion in 2010 to $30.6 billion in 2021.

The ministry offered to provide assistance to Ukraine in rebuilding the country, after Won met with lawmakers and the ambassador of the Eastern European country.

Similar ministry-led post-war reconstruction efforts are in progress in Iraq, as evidenced by the Alpo New Port Project worth $2.62 billion. The ministry plans to initiate a rapid transit project in Baghdad ($2.5 billion) and the Basra seawater treatment facility project ($3 billion).

Strengthened cooperation between the government and the private sector will help the country identify overseas markets that can be expanded.

“We will set up a different approach to best meet the demands from different countries. Deregulation and tax or other policy incentives will be outlined accordingly,” he added.

Among other policy initiatives is an overhaul of 28 state-run entities supervised or affiliated with the ministry, including the scandal-tainted Korea Land and Housing Corp. (LH) and the Korea Railroad Corp. (Korail).

Their financial conditions will be fortified by reducing debt and tightening spending, coupled with efforts to eradicate corruption.

Developments on the reform efforts will be announced in mid-August.


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