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(US election) President Obama's reelection likely to ease policy uncertainty
SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- The re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama will likely have a positive impact on the Korean economy as it will help ease uncertainty over the future policy direction of the world's largest economy, government officials and analysts said Wednesday.

   Obama won the presidential race against Republican contender Mitt Romney on Tuesday (U.S. time), securing four more years in office.

   The results of the election have been closely watched as any change in policy direction in the U.S. could have a significant ripple effect on other countries, especially at a time when the world is faced with eurozone debt problems and worries over a global slowdown.

   "In times of crisis, it is most meaningful in that uncertainty over policy change has eased," said Choi Sang-mok, the head of the finance ministry's economic policy bureau.

   Other experts echoed that view, saying that dealing with the same administration in the U.S. will have a positive impact in consideration of the latest economic and diplomatic situations around the world.

   The re-election of Obama also poses a challenge, however, as he will likely continue quantitative easing, a move aimed at injecting a large amount of liquidity into the market to prop up the world's largest economy.

   Advanced countries including the U.S. claim that injecting more liquidity into the market will end up benefiting the global economy, but other countries including Korea worry it could hurt their economies by lowering currency value.

   Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan earlier made that point during a group of 20 meeting in Mexico, underlining the need to conduct more comprehensive research into the impact of quantitative easing polices on the global economy.

   On the trade front, Obama will likely continue his ties with South Korea through the already-enforced free trade agreement (FTA) with Asia's fourth-largest economy but his focus on creating jobs through exports could lead to more protectionism aimed at staving off competition from Korean products, experts said.

   South Korea signed the FTA with the U.S. in 2007 and the two sides put it into effect in March of this year.

   The Obama administration has been emphasizing the importance of its manufacturing industry, which accounts for about 60 percent of its exports. In particular, Washington has taken issue with what it claims are unfair business practices of other countries in many areas.

   The South Korean government, however, said Obama's re-election will not make things particularly worse, saying that protectionism would strengthen no matter who was elected as president in the U.S.

   "Generally speaking, the Republican Party is weak on protectionism but its presidential contender Mitt Romney has been tough on the matter. Against this backdrop, we cannot see Obama's re-election very negatively," a finance ministry official said.

   kokobj@yna.co.kr
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