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S. Korea lowers barrier on issuing trade visas

2016/03/10 12:32

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will relax requirements for issuing trade visas starting next week in an effort to increase exports of domestic products, the government said Thursday.

The Ministry of Justice said a points system will be introduced from Monday to issue D-9-1 visas to overseas traders who perform export and import activities in South Korea.

Previously, the visa type was only provided to those who have a trade performance of US$500,000 a year or more, the ministry said in a press release.

With the new system, the ministry will grant visas based on diverse criteria, including the applicant's career, capital, academic background and study experience in South Korea, according to the ministry.

The justice ministry said it is expecting to expand the number of foreigners holding the trade visa to some 1,000 by 2018 from about 50 people at the moment.

"With the new system, there may be a rise in outbound shipments that can translate into more jobs being created," a ministry official said.

In 2015, South Korea's exports backtracked by around 8 percent on-year while imports nosedived by some 17 percent, fueling concerns that the country's main economic growth engines were losing steam.