Monday, June 21, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
“Remarkable developments are made in the UAE for prosperity, innovation”
Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the United Arab Emirates in Seoul said that remarkable developments are occurring the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and that they relate to development, prosperity, and innovation. Then he said that the UAE has reached a historic achievement in the Middle East peace process through the signing of a peace agreement with Israel in September 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords. On Korea-UAE economic relations and cooperation, Ambassdor Al Nuaimi said, “Bilateral trade has performed well in recent years and in 2020 it totalled US$9.4 billion, and we look forward to further expanding this figure in the years to come.” Asked to introduce areas where Korean companies are wanted to invest in the UAE, Ambassador Al Nuaimi said, “There are many UAE sectors in which Korean companies seek to invest. These include the logistics, biological medicine, automotive, shipbuilding, mining, tourism, supply chain, fintech, renewable energy and information and communication technology sectors.”
Kore.AI to provide 'AI secretaries' to UAE’s Mashreq bank
Kore.AI, a global interactive artificial intelligence (AI) and digital user experience (UX) company, made an announcement on June 17 that it has supplied 'Bank Assist', an interactive AI-based virtual assistant, to Mashreq Bank, an UAE financial institution. Mashreq Bank can help more than 500,000 retail financial customers, who are private and small business clients, quickly solve various questions in Arabic and English through Bank Assist. More than 100 small deposits, loans and remittance services are available by voice and text. Kore.AI's Bank Assist provides such services with natural language processing (NLP) technology. It maintains the context of past conversations to ensure consistent experiences when customers change communication channels for counseling, go directly to banks for follow-up services, or connect with real-world counselors.
Korea Energy Agency holds Korea-UAE Renewable Energy Business Meet-up Day
Korea Energy Agency announced on June 17 that it held the "Korea-UAE Renewable Energy Business Meet-up Day" at Intercontinental COEX in Seoul to support domestic energy leading companies' overseas expansion and create new business opportunities. In 2018, the agency signed a "business agreement to promote Korea-UAE renewable energy investment cooperation project" to combine Masdar's capital and Korean companies' technology to use it as an opportunity to promote domestic renewable energy investment. The conference was attended by Korea Midland Power Co., Korea East-West Power Co., SK Eco Plant, and Korea Electric Power Corp., along with UAE's Masdar Co. and only Korean company officials attended the conference on-site due to the influence of Covid-19. On the day, the consultation session was conducted in a one-on-one investment consultation method by each company, including sharing performance in the renewable energy sector, introducing projects planned and promoted by companies and discussing future cooperation.
S. Korea Unveils New Social Distancing System
South Korea on Sunday unveiled a new social distancing system that will take effect from next month amid the country's accelerated COVID-19 vaccination program. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced the new system that will replace the current five-tier scheme during a government meeting on COVID-19 responses. Under the new four-tier system, the lowest level will be imposed when the number of daily infections stays below 250 in the capital region and 500 nationwide. Level Two will be implemented when those figures surpass 250 and 500, and will be tightened to Level Three if the numbers exceed 500 and one-thousand. The highest level will be imposed when the number of daily cases surpasses one-thousand in the capital region and two-thousand nationwide.
No. of People with First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Tops 15 Million
The number of people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in South Korea surpassed 15 million on Sunday. The country reached the figure 114 days after the launch of the nationwide vaccination program on February 26. According to the vaccination task force, as of 12 a.m. on Sunday, a total of 15-million-12-thousand-455 people or 29-point-two percent of the population received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. The number of people who received their second shots came to over four million, or seven-point-eight percent of the population. AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines require two shots, while the Johnson and Johnson's Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. People who received the Janssen vaccine are included in the number of people who received their first shots as well as the figure for people who received their second shots. The government is aiming to have at least 36 million people, or 70 percent of the population, receive at least one COVID-19 shot by September to achieve herd immunity by November.
S. Korea Elected as Member of FAO's Council for 12th Time
South Korea has been elected as a member of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the 12th time in a row. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Sunday, the country was elected to the 49-member council for a three-year term during the five-day FAO Conference, which wrapped up on Friday. The Conference takes place every two years and is FAO's supreme governing body that decides the policies of the organization. For the first time ever, the conference was held via video links this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing together over 13-hundred people including 119 ministers and vice ministers. South Korea joined the organization in 1949 and has been serving as a member of the governing council since 1989.
New virus cases under 500, S. Korea unveils new social distancing scheme
South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed below 500 for the second consecutive day Sunday due to fewer tests carried out over the weekend, with health authorities announcing eased social distancing rules that will be applied next month. The country reported 429 new cases, including 380 local infections, raising the total caseload to 151,149, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. South Korea found 507 new cases Friday and 482 on Saturday. The country added five COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 2002. The fatality rate came to 1.32 percent. As of 6 p.m. Sunday, 316 additional infections were reported nationwide, down 36 from the same time the previous day, according to the health authorities and local governments. Among them, 221 cases, or 69.9 percent, were found in the greater Seoul area. South Korea unveiled its new social distancing scheme that will go into effect next month, which centers on allowing businesses to stay open longer and permit gatherings of more people.
Ex-prosecutor chief Yoon's spokesperson resigns for 'personal reasons'
The spokesperson of Yoon Seok-youl, a former prosecutor general and leading presidential hopeful, resigned for "personal reasons" Sunday, just 10 days after his appointment. The resignation of Lee Dong-hoon, a former journalist, came after Yoon and Lee issued conflicting messages over the issue of whether the former top prosecutor would join the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) as an official member. "Of course, I made the decision after talks with Yoon," Lee told Yonhap News Agency over the phone.
Asked whether he was at odds with Yoon over any issue, Lee said, "I would leave that to your interpretation." In an interview with a local radio station Friday, Lee said it seemed to be fair to say that Yoon would join the opposition party -- remarks that reinforced the speculation of Yoon's impending entry into the party to get a ticket for next year's presidential election. Hours later, Yoon struck a different note, saying that he would be "circumspect" in making a decision over whether to join the party.
Trapped firefighter found dead in Coupang warehouse
A firefighter who was trapped in a fire that tore through a Coupang Inc. warehouse was found dead by rescue workers Saturday, officials said. Kim Dong-shik, 52, was found in the second-floor basement of the e-commerce giant's four-story building in Icheon, 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, shortly after rescue workers resumed their search for the missing firefighter following a safety inspection of the building. Kim entered the basement around 11:20 a.m. Thursday with four of his colleagues to search for people caught in the fire that broke out earlier that morning. As the blaze began to spread, the four colleagues found their way out, while Kim stood at the back of the line to ensure they reached safety, a colleague said. A search for Kim immediately got under way but was suspended soon after as the fire engulfed the building and threatened to bring it down. By Saturday afternoon, the blaze had been brought under control, although it has not been fully put out. "His body was found severely damaged by the fire," a fire official said. "We collected what we could and took it to the hospital."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
From free air tickets to meal discounts: Vaccine marketing takes off
From free air tickets and special discounts on burgers to vaccinated-only seats at concerts, local industries are revving up their marketing efforts to target the rapidly growing number of Koreans getting their COVID-19 vaccine shots. As of Sunday, over 15 million people, or some 29.2 percent of the total population, have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, surpassing the government’s initial goal of inoculating 13 million in the first half of this year, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Local businesses, many of which had to endure unseen business contractions during the yearlong pandemic, are rolling out big promotional events in anticipation of a quick return to normalcy, while also hoping to help boost vaccination rates. Last week, Lotteria became the first fast-food chain to present a promotional discount on burgers for those vaccinated.
Kakao rises to Korea’s 5th largest biz group
Kakao Group, which started off as a mobile messenger app operator and has aggressively expanded into new business territories, is now the country’s fifth-largest business group in terms of market cap, data shows. According to financial data from Korea Exchange and market researcher Infomax, the aggregate market capitalization of all Kakao firms stood at 73.9 trillion won ($65.1 billion) as of Friday. After a dizzying array of spinoffs, mergers and acquisitions in past years, Kakao has a total of 118 companies under its wing. Only three -- messenger operator Kakao Corp., Kakao Games and Neptune -- are publicly traded. The total market capitalization of Kakao Group follows the country’s four biggest conglomerates: Samsung Electronics with 751 trillion won, SK Group with 200 trillion won, LG Group with 158 trillion won and Hyundai Motor Group at 152 trillion won. The group’s market value rapidly skyrocketed to 37 trillion won last year from 13 trillion won in 2019, as demand for contactless services surged under the pandemic situation. From 2019 to date, the group’s value has soared by a whopping 459 percent due to spikes in the affiliates’ stock prices.
Korea to ease social distancing from July on vaccine progress
With a quarter of its population vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Korea says it is ready to allow more mingling and less mask-wearing in the summer. “The current guidance fails to take into account the improvements in our pandemic situation -- vaccines are rolling out at an increasing pace, our health care systems can handle far more patients at a time now compared to a year ago, and new cases are down,” Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol said at Sunday’s news briefing. “Before the end of June, vaccinations for older and vulnerable age groups would be more or less complete,” he said. “As threats of the pandemic subside, it’s time we move on to a sustainable form of social distancing.” For the remainder of this month through the majority of July, vaccination efforts will focus on delivering first doses to those 60 to 74 years old, and second doses to first-dose recipients who are due to receive them. As the vaccine schedule goes by age, people in their late 50s will become eligible in the last week of July. The most sweeping change under the new guidance is relaxations on social gathering restrictions. For about half a year since the winter wave, groups of no more than four people could gather for private purposes.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Eased social distancing rules to take effect from July
Beginning next month, the government will increase the limit of private gatherings to a maximum of six people from the current four in Seoul and the surrounding area, while there will be no ceiling on the number of participants in such gatherings applied in other regions, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Sunday. In addition, eateries, cafes and entertainment facilities will be able to operate until midnight, an extension of two hours from the current 10 p.m., if the number of daily coronavirus cases remains at the current level. These eased rules were included in a revised version of the government's social distancing plan unveiled Sunday, and will be put into effect from July 1. The current five-tier system, adopted in November last year, has been facing growing criticism as it unilaterally limits the operation of certain businesses, resulting in severe economic damage to small business owners.
Firefighter's sacrifice honored across nation
A wave of condolences are flooding in from across the nation over the death of a veteran firefighter who failed to escape from a fire at a Coupang warehouse in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, after ensuring his colleagues were safely evacuated first.Kim Dong-shik, a 52-year-old firefighter with 27 years' experience, was found dead by rescue workers in the second-floor basement of the e-commerce giant's building, which had four stories above ground and two underground levels. About six hours after the fire broke out Thursday, Kim entered the building with four colleagues to search for people who may have been trapped in the fire. Shortly after they entered the basement, however, the blaze began to spread, and he failed to exit the building with his colleagues who found their way out first. According to a fire official, Kim's body was severely damaged by the fire. All 248 Coupang employees who were working at the warehouse were evacuated in time, leaving Kim as the only fatality.
Korea seeks to win Czech nuclear power plant deal
Korea is going all-out to win an 8 trillion won ($7 billion) nuclear power plant order in the Czech Republic with high-ranking officials from the government and state-run nuclear plant operator traveling to Prague to promote the country's advanced technology. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Saturday that Minister Moon Sung-wook and Chung Jae-hoon, CEO of the state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) visited the European country and held meetings with Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlicek, June 17 and 18 (local time). During his visit, Moon stressed that Korea would be the best partner in the nuclear power plant project; pointing to the successful completion of the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates. "The minister used the UAE nuclear power plant built by Korea as a successful example that was completed within the planned budget and time period, and expressed confidence that the Czech nuclear power plant project would be properly budgeted for and constructed in a timely manner" the industry ministry said.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
More Vaccines to Become Available Next Month
Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines will become available here next month on top of Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Koreans who book leftover vaccines through an app can already get their hands on some Johnson & Johnson supplies that were sent by the U.S. for Korean soldiers and reservists. Given the frequency of side effects, many people who have had their first AstraZeneca shot are now thinking of getting their second jab with the Pfizer vaccine now mixing and matching is considered safe. Health authorities on Thursday declined to say which of the four vaccines is the best. Clinical trials show that mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna are 95 percent and 94.1 percent effective against coronavirus if administered three to four weeks apart, a much shorter interval than the 11 to 12 weeks considered safe for AstraZeneca. But they create relatively strong side effects after a second shot. There were 145 reports of death after Pfizer shots as of June 10, about double the 77 reports of deaths after AstraZeneca injection and for a much smaller sample of the population.
Auto Workers in Generation War over Retirement Age
The labor unions of Korea's three major car manufacturers Hyundai, Kia and GM Korea filed a petition to the National Assembly on Wednesday to push back the retirement age of workers. But young staff at the automakers then wrote to Cheong Wa Dae saying they oppose the idea. The unions insist that a later retirement age is inevitable due to longer life expectancy and a rapidly aging population. But the young employees argue it would squeeze jobs available for young people even tighter amid record youth unemployment. With the transition to electric vehicles, job cuts on production lines look increasingly inevitable, and now the issue has divided workers along generational lines. The unions have persistently demanded raising the retirement age from 60 to 65, when workers become eligible for the national pension. "When people are forced to retire at a physically active age, they face greater financial pressure in later age, and we expect a shortage of labor in future due to the low birthrate," the unions wrote. "Companies can create more value-added products with a seasoned labor force."
Kim Jong-un's Weight Loss Prompts Health Speculation
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have lost weight in the first public photos published by state media last week after about a month's absence. The Seoul-based NK News website on Tuesday said Kim is visibly thinner in the photos compared to late April, when he presided over a Workers Party meeting. He seems to have been tightened the strap on his Swiss IWC watch on his left wrist since March, and NK News said his drastic weight loss could signify health problems. "On the surface, noticeable weight loss may not mean much, but it can provide clues to other information that intelligence collectors look for," it quoted Mike Brodka, a U.S. intelligence officer in South Korea, as saying. Speculation has it that Kim suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems due to his obesity.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
In viral image, G7 leaders point at Moon while referring to country that best handled COVID-19
A photograph posted on social media by a Japanese internet user is attracting major attention in South Korea in the wake of a failed attempt at arranging a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the G7 summit that recently concluded in Cornwall, England. It shows a laughing Moon — who was attending as a summit guest — conversing with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the extended summit. Why is this picture attracting so much notice on both sides four days after the summit finished? An internet user with the ID “Kumakuma” posted the photograph Wednesday along with a message that read, “I was wondering what this was all about, and it turns out that Boris [Johnson] had looked at the agenda and saw that this guy’s country was ‘number one in [COVID-19] prevention.’”
“Biden was also pointing at [Moon],” the message noted. “I thought it was funny because it was like a bunch of high school students saying, ‘He’s the one,’” the user added.
Kim Jong-un says N. Korea should be prepared for both conversation, confrontation
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded to the rapid geopolitical changes following the inauguration of US President Joe Biden by saying that the North “should be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation and, more particularly, should be completely prepared for confrontation.” Kim’s remarks are thought to mean that Pyongyang is willing to consider not only confrontation but also dialogue with the Biden administration, but that it will keep watching developments until conditions are more favorable for negotiations. The Rodong Sinmun, the official organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), said that Kim “summarized and assessed the external environment for our revolution and the major changes that have been occurring recently on the stage of international politics” on June 17, the third day of the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the WPK. More specifically, the Rodong Sinmun said that Kim had “analyzed in detail the direction of the newly inaugurated US administration’s policy toward the Republic [that is, North Korea] and laid out an appropriate strategic and tactical response and course of action to take in our relations with the US going forward.”
Suga avoided Moon deliberately, Democratic Party lawmaker says
Democratic Party lawmaker Youn Kun-young, who is accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a special delegation member on his European tour, said Tuesday that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appeared to be deliberately avoiding Moon at the recent G7 summit in England. Youn also shared a bluntly critical message toward Japan, saying that he “think[s] we need to prepare carefully and take resolute action to fix their bad habits.” His remarks came during an interview on the MBC radio show “A Closer Look with Kim Jong-bae.” “Based on media reports and the explanations from government officials on both sides, [Moon and Suga] did appear to have planned for a meeting. That seems to be a fact,” Youn said. He went on to say that the “simplified summit itself wasn’t something mutually agreed upon between the diplomatic leaders. It was pursued at the working level, so it’s going a bit far to talk about a ‘breach of etiquette.’”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Sung Kim discusses N. Korean nuclear with S. Korea and Japan
The U.S. special representative for North Korea Sung Kim will start his official schedule by beginning a bilateral discussion with North Korean nuclear envoy in Korea and a trilateral discussion with Korea’s and Japan’s envoys. Kim’s message toward North Korea is garnering attention as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced his first official statement to the Joe Biden administration that his country should be ready for dialogue and confrontation with the U.S. A special representative for North Korea is a position that negotiates with North Korea. Sung Kim will meet with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk at a hotel in Seoul on Monday morning after arriving in Korea on Saturday and having personal time until Sunday. It is the first discussion between North Korea special representatives in South Korea and the U.S. after the U.S. President Joe Biden publicly announced the appointment of Kim at a press conference after the South Korea-U.S. summit on May 21 (local time).
Kim Jong Un sends first official message to Biden
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that the North needs to prepare for both "dialogue and confrontation" with the U.S. This is Kim’s first official response to the U.S.’ policy toward North Korea since the launch of the Joe Biden administration. North Korea’s announcement of the message right before the visit of U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim from Saturday to Sunday is seen as a sign that the North is considering the resumption of its dialogue with the U.S. “We need to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development,” said Kim at the third plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency on Friday.
Former French President Sarkozy in crisis
French prosecutors, having indicted former French President Nicholas Sarkozy (66) for taking illegal political funds ahead of the 2012 presidential election, demanded the court to hand him a one-year prison sentence with six-month probation plus a fine of 3,570 euros (about 4,467 U.S. dollars) on Thursday. According to news outlets including AFP, French public prosecutors called for a six-month jail term, saying, “Former President Sarkozy is not atoning for amassing illegal funds for the past presidential election, considering that he has failed to appear before the court for hearings.” Sarkozy is denying all charges against him. “I had been in politics for 40 years. Politics was my life, and I know how election campaigns are staged,” he claimed before court on Tuesday. Sarkozy served as the president from 2007 to 2012. He ran for reelection in 2012 but lost to Socialist Party candidate Francois Orland.
Democratic Party to Officially Promote the End of News Editing by Web Portals, “We’re at Their Disposal”
The Democratic Party of Korea will officially promote changes to remove news editing from web portals like Naver and Daum (first covered in the July 17, 2021 issue of the Kyunghyang Shinmun). By having users instead of web portals select the news from media outlets, the ruling party plans to rectify the sensational reporting of media outlets, which occurred when they were dependent on web portals. Reportedly, Naver has agreed to this measure, while Daum plans to make a decision according to future social consensus. In the first report by the Democratic Party of Korea’s special committee for media innovation on June 17, the party’s leader Song Young-gil said, “We will take the right to edit the news from web portals and return it to the people, allowing users to determine their media outlets.” Song said, “Most of the members of the press have not been able to say anything, but they are forced to rely on web portals and are at their disposal.” He further explained, “In the case of Naver and Daum, there was a need to resolve the problem of the portals editing and determining the news, despite that they did not create those articles.” Song referred to the web portals as the “Naver newspaper” and the “Daum newspaper.”
“Yoon Seok-youl to Announce His Presidential Bid at the End of This Month”
Former prosecutor general, Yoon Seok-youl (pictured), a rising opposition candidate in the next presidential election, announced on June 15 that he would officially declare his bid for the presidency as early as the end of June. Yoon had not stated any clear position on this issue only communicating through his acquaintances for over three months since he stepped down as prosecutor general on March 4. This was the first time that he expressed his intention to run for president along with a timetable. However, Yoon has yet to reach a conclusion on whether to join the People Power Party and if so, when he will join the major opposition. This day Yoon’s spokesperson, Lee Dong-hoon told reporters, “Yoon is considering an announcement on his entering politics,” and said, “It will be in late June or early July.” Lee further said, “Yoon suggested that we use a shared office in Yeouido for his office,” and added, “He is reviewing everything including these details.”
It Took 109 Days to Administer at Least One Dose of the Vaccine to 25% of the Population, Faster than France and Germany
On June 15, the number of people who received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in South Korea surpassed 13 million. Authorities achieved the goal to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to 13 million people in the first half of the year more than two weeks ahead of schedule. They successfully raised the rate of people who received at least one shot to 25.3% of the population. It took just 109 days since the nation began rolling out vaccines on February 26. This day, the COVID-19 vaccination response team announced, “As of 2:30 p.m. 13,000,497 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Korea.” The government had originally set the goal of administering the first shots to 13 million by the end of this month, but due to smooth supply of vaccines, authorities raised the vaccination goal for the first half of the year to “13 million plus.” Disease control authorities had focused on inoculating high-risk groups, such as the elderly, for the first three months since they started rolling out vaccines. Slightly over four million people received at least one vaccine shot by May 26.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea envisions over 100 micro satellites, 14 6G satellites by 2031: fin min
The South Korean government will develop and build more than 100 micro satellites for public purposes over the next 10 years to form market demand and help stimulate growth in related industries. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Hong Nam-ki released the plan during a government meeting Friday morning, adding the government will launch 14 units of communications satellites by 2031 to take a lead in satellite communication for 6G applications. He also said the government will lay the foundation for industrial competitiveness in related service fields such as urban air traffic (UAM), intelligent maritime logistics, and in-flight connectivity.
Lawmaker claims N. Korean hackers breached nuclear power agency in S. Korea
North Korean hackers broke into South Korea’s research-oriented institute for nuclear power last month, claimed Rep. Ha Tae-kyung of the main opposition People Power Party, a member of the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly, during a press conference held on Friday. The lawmaker said 13 unauthorized external IPs accessed the internal network of Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute on May 14 and some of the IPs were found linked to North Korea’s hacking group Kimsuky, citing data analysis done by Seoul-based IssueMakersLab, an expert group of malware analysts. Kimsuky has a track record of singling out key public entities and private companies in South Korea and elsewhere, including AstraZeneca and Celltrion last year.
South Korea at 23rd in global competitiveness on economic gains, loses on govt performance
South Korea’s global competitiveness ranking has remained unchanged at 23rd this year among 64 countries surveyed by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD), after climbing five notches last year. Korea saw its ranking in economic achievements rise by nine notches to 18th thanks to robust exports and successful containment of the pandemic, according to the IMD’s 2021 report. It ranked at 34th in terms of government efficiency, slipping six places from last year.
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