Kim Chung-woo, the administrator of the Public Procurement Service
Amid a constant influx of new technologies that has changed the way we live, work and communicate, COVID-19 has drastically accelerated digital transformation. The expedited digitalization has prompted to expand the industrial scope of future markets where national borders and the boundaries between the online and offline world are becoming ever more blurred. Thus, at present, major economies across the globe fiercely compete with one another to get ahead in future promising industries.
Against this backdrop, the Korean government put forth the vision to open a new chapter of annual exports of $700 billion by 2025. The vision was set to create a new growth momentum by investing 5 trillion won ($4.42 billion) in developing new and promising technologies and supporting industrial innovation.
The Public Procurement Service, contributing to Korea’s economic march through innovative growth by supporting businesses to get going, has keenly eyed overseas procurement markets. As of 2019, the global procurement market is worth about $10.3 trillion, which could be a profitable opportunity for outstanding domestic businesses seeking out chances of growth. Considering the domestic procurement market is largely saturated, joining the international procurement market filled with greater opportunities would be a good leap forward.
In this vein, PPS has proactively provided administrative support for innovative Korean MSMEs, or micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, including startups, to help them enter the domestic procurement market and then go farther to the global arena. PPS has also collaborated with relevant authorities to bolster innovation procurement, one of its key strategic policies.
Last April, the task force whose recent establishment was led by the administrator of PPS had its meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and other relevant bodies to discuss ways for the nation’s inventive MSMEs to get tangible harvests in overseas markets. Given that realizing innovation in public procurement requires governmentwide engagement, the task force is expected to generate more practical measures working for the MSMEs.
Besides, PPS has long steadfastly operated the G-PASS (Government Performance Assured) program to designate domestic MSMEs competent enough to pursue the global procurement market. The regime is to support qualified suppliers with proven technologies of innovation and reliability so that they could advance into the foreign market. This year, 832 G-PASS companies with inventive tech products have made constant inroads into overseas markets, aiming for export sales of $800 million.
On top of that, under the innovation-oriented procurement, pre-commercial high-tech products can readily get into the government procurement market thanks to the procurement agency fully harnessing its public purchasing power. The government body thereby contributes to market revitalization with validation and preemptive purchasing of the inventive goods and solutions of MSMEs, which could facilitate further technological innovation.
The public procurement market will continuously serve as a reliable and supportive ladder on which original technologies are propped up and subsequently their manufacturers can make due progress to reach out to wider global markets. And PPS will also keep strategically capitalizing on government procurement power to shore up those businesses that are small but full of the spirit of adventure, so that it could list them among the well-built drivers for the nation’s innovative growth.
By Kim Chung-woo
The writer is the administrator of the Public Procurement Service. The views reflected in the article are his own. -- Ed.