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Park Byung-kyu once led Kia Motor’s union in the city of Gwangju, fighting for labor protections against the powerful, family-run chaebol that dominated the economy during South Korea’s rapid industrialization.

But about 20 years ago, Park was assaulted by unionized workers wielding steel clubs after he campaigned for the rights of temporary workers at another company, leaving him paralyzed on the right side of his body.

The attack also left him disillusioned with the approach of South Korea’s forceful and often militant unions, which have faced increasing criticism for protecting their interests at the expense of other workers.

Now, Park is working for the city of Gwangju on a proposed joint venture with Hyundai Motor to build a new low-wage car factory, Hyundai’s first new factory in South Korea in 25 years.

The $616 million plant would create 1,000 jobs, but at less than half the wages of Hyundai’s unionized workers and without many of the privileges they currently enjoy.

“The labor unions with vested interests should change. If not, their interests will be taken away,” said the 53-year-old Park. “Unionized labor should face up to the reality.”

The unions of Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors, which together form the world’s fifth-largest automaker by volume, have staged strikes and rallies to protest the plant.

They say it will create “bad jobs” and take away production and employment from existing factories.

But in a city that has seen a steady exodus of manufacturing jobs move to low-cost countries, many job seekers say they would work for the plant in a heartbeat.

Employment is a key focus for President Moon Jae-in’s administration as Asia’s fourth-largest economy struggles to create jobs in the face of a slowing China economy, U.S. trade protectionism and increased minimum wages.

The Moon government plans to provide financial assistance to the Gwangju plant, and also introduce similar government-business ventures in two other cities by June.

Officials hope it will lead to a “U-turn” of Korean companies which would otherwise build factories overseas.

“This is a bold experiment to resolve jobs and labor relations problems,” said Park Myung-joon, a senior research fellow at state-funded Korea Labour Institute, who has been involved in the project since its beginning in 2014.

The carmaking venture, the first of its kind in South Korea, is the biggest threat to date for legacy unionized auto workers, who have largely maintained high wages and benefits even with youth unemployment near a record high and the economy sluggish, Park said.

“The expensive union jobs will gradually disappear.”

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Oil's recent price surge won't last, economists predict

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Sluggish global growth and an increase in U.S. output both signal the end of the recent rally in oil prices, economic research consultancy Capital Economics has suggested.

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US GDP grows by 3.2% in the first quarter

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The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the first quarter and posted its best growth to start a year in six years.

First-quarter GDP expanded by 3.2% in the first quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said in its initial read of the economy for that period. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the U.S. economy increased by 2.5% in the first quarter. It was the first time since 2013 that first-quarter GDP topped 3%.

Exports rose 3.7% in the first quarter, while imports decreased by 3.7%. Economic growth also got a lift from strong investments in intellectual property products. Those investments expanded by 8.6%.

“The upside beat was helped by net trade (exports jumped while imports contracted sharply) and inventories which combined contributed almost 170 bps of the rise,” wrote Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “Personal spending though, the biggest component was up just 1.2%, two tenths more than expected as an increase in spending on services and nondurable goods offset a decline in spending on durable goods.”

Disposable personal income increased by 3%, while prices increased by 1.3% when excluding food and energy. Overall prices climbed by 0.8% in the first quarter.

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Trump tariff threat on autos could bring a German recession

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A trade war between the United States and Europe is coming and the fallout could tip Germany into recession, according to analysts at German lender Commerzbank.

EU leaders have now agreed to negotiate fresh trade arrangements with Washington but have restricted the talks to industrial goods only. That scope of debate is likely to irk President Donald Trump who is under pressure from Congress to win access to EU agriculture markets.

In February, Trump said he would impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union if U.S. talks with the bloc can’t produce a new deal. The EU has since threatened to tax 20 billion euros ($22 billion) worth of U.S. goods.

Both sides have cautiously hung on to existing agreements, promising to take no action until talks are concluded.

In a research report Friday, analysts at Commerzbank said the chances of a trade deal that satisfied both European leaders and U.S. lawmakers looked slim. It noted that France, holding a powerful voice in the corridors of Brussels, had already erected a serious barrier.

“President (Emmanuel) Macron has already voted against opening negotiations with the U.S. because the U.S. is no longer participating in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement,” noted Commerzbank.

The bank said on the other side of the ledger, U.S. Congress has made it clear that it will not rubberstamp any agreement that excludes agriculture — a tricky proposition given many EU nations fiercely protect prices paid to their farmers.

“It is therefore likely that Donald Trump will announce the imposition of duties — probably at rates of 25% — on imports of autos and auto parts from the EU,” said Commerzbank.

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