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[AMCHAM Doorknock] AMCHAM delegation to visit U.S. for meetings with Biden officials, lawmakers

AMCHAM delegation to visit U.S. for meetings with Biden officials, lawmakers    The Korea Times - The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) said Monday its delegation will leave for Washington this week to meet with key U.S. government officials and lawmakers in a move to promote the business and trade relationship between the two countries.   The 14-member delegation plans to meet more than 25 senior officials of the Joe Biden administration and several other members of Congress during the three-day trip that will begin Wednesday, AMCHAM said in a release.   The trip marks the resumption of AMCHAM's annual "doorknock" business-promoting program following a two-year hiatus over COVID-19.   The delegation also plans to highlight the benefits of doing business in South Korea and the value of bilateral trade relations, amid active investment activities under way between the two countries and the implementation of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, according to AMCHAM.   The members will start off the trip by attending a memorial ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington to commemorate the 1950-53 Korean War. The United States and other nations fought alongside the South against the then Soviet Union-backed North Korea.   U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are also expected to attend the ceremony, AMCHAM said.   Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2022/07/419_333316.html 

2022.07.26

[Special Interview] "홍콩 대신 한국이 아태 경제 중심지 가능"

"홍콩 대신 한국이 아태 경제 중심지 가능" 매일경제 우제윤 기자 - "미국 내에서 한국에 대한 관심은 그 어느 때보다 높습니다. 아시아·태평양 지역에서 한국이 추종자(follower)가 아닌 리더가 될 좋은 기회입니다."  서울 여의도 IFC에 위치한 주한미국상공회의소(암참) 사무실에서 만난 제임스 김 암참 회장은 한미 간 경제동맹을 한 단계 업그레이드할 '호기'가 찾아왔다는 자신감을 감추지 않았다.  김 회장은 주한 미국 기업인들로 구성된 사절단을 이끌고 오는 27일부터 29일까지 미국 의회와 싱크탱크 등을 방문해 한미 경제협력 강화를 모색하는 '도어노크(Doorknock)' 행사를 진행한다. 원래는 연례적으로 이뤄지는 행사였으나 2020년부터 작년까지 2년간 코로나19로 연기됐다가 3년 만에 재개되는 일정이다. 특히 지난 5월 조 바이든 미국 대통령의 방한으로 미국 조야에서 한미동맹 재도약에 대한 관심이 높아진 상태라는 점에서도 의미가 깊다.  김 회장은 "듣기 좋으라고 하는 말이 아니라 정말 미국에서 관심이 높다"며 "예정된 미팅이 너무 많아 사절단을 쪼개서 일정을 잡았을 정도"라고 말했다. 이어 "테드 크루즈 상원의원과 영 김 등 한국계 하원의원들, 전략국제문제연구소(CSIS) 등을 만나 한미협력의 가교 역할을 할 것"이라고 강조했다.  이처럼 미국 내에서 한국이 다시 조명을 받는 이유는 뭘까. 김 회장은 한국 기업들의 잇따른 투자 덕분이라고 설명했다. 그는 "삼성전자의 텍사스주 투자, 현대자동차나 SK그룹의 조지아주 투자 등으로 인해 각 주 상원의원들이 한국과 한국 기업에 깊은 관심을 갖고 있다"고 전했다.  반대로 미국의 중소기업들도 한국 진출을 희망하고 있다고 주장했다. 김 회장은 "미국에는 3000만개의 중소기업이 있는데 이 가운데 30만개 회사가 해외로 진출 중"이라며 "30만개 가운데 한국에 진출한 회사는 2만개뿐이라 미국의 6대 교역국인 한국과 어울리지 않는 규모다. 반대로 말하면 미국 중소기업들이 한국에 투자할 여지가 매우 크다"고 말했다.  특히 미·중 갈등과 전 세계적 공급망 재편이 한국엔 기회가 되고 있다고 김 회장은 역설했다. 최근 방한한 재닛 옐런 미 재무부 장관도 동맹 간 투자 강화를 의미하는 '프렌드쇼어링'과 인도·태평양경제프레임워크(IPEF) 구축 등을 강조한 바 있다. 중국을 중심으로 움직이던 미국 기업들이 눈을 다른 곳으로 돌릴 수밖에 없는 상황이라는 얘기다.  김 회장은 "지금까지 아시아·태평양 지역의 중심은 중국, 그중에서도 홍콩이었다"며 "그러나 미국이 프렌드쇼어링 등 자유민주주의 국가 중심의 공급망 구축에 나서면서 한국이 새롭게 아태지역 중심이 될 수 있는 상황"이라고 말했다.  그 이유로 김 회장은 한국의 뛰어난 디지털 인프라스트럭처와 언론의 자유 등을 꼽았다. 실제로 최근 암참 회원사를 대상으로 한 '2022년 비즈니스 환경 설문조사'에서 주한 미국 기업인들은 한국을 싱가포르에 이어 두 번째로 아시아 지역본부에 적합한 지역으로 꼽았다.  암참에 따르면 이미 퀄컴이나 델타, 디즈니 등 미국의 일부 대기업들은 한국에 아시아 지역본부를 두고 있다.  또 한국이 반도체와 배터리 등 미래 산업 핵심 분야에서 갖고 있는 뛰어난 기술과 노하우도 미국이 한국을 매력적으로 보는 이유다. 반도체·배터리 분야의 미국 기업들이 한국에 연구개발(R&D)센터 등 시설을 지을 수 있도록 유치 전략을 이어나가야 한다는 것이 김 회장의 조언이다.  이를 위해 암참은 한국에 대한 적극적 홍보를 이어갈 방침이다. 김 회장은 "미국의 일부 지역, 특히 공화당 지지자들이 많은 이른바 '레드 스테이트(red state)'에선 여전히 한국 인지도가 낮다"며 "최근 만난 릭 스콧 플로리다주 상원의원도 이 점을 지적했다. 암참이 한국에 대해 제대로 알리겠다"고 다짐했다.  출처: www.mk.co.kr/news/business/view/2022/07/651253/​​

2022.07.25

[News Article] AMCHAM welcomes Yoon’s policy to expand corporate tax breaks

AMCHAM welcomes Yoon’s policy to expand corporate tax breaks   By Hong Yoo, The Korea Herald - The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea on Friday welcomed the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s policy to expand corporate tax breaks, which are aimed at promoting active investments and job creation.   “AMCHAM greatly appreciates the willingness of the Korean Government to listen and promptly respond to the concerns and recommendations of AMCHAM and the foreign business community,” Chairman and CEO of AMCHAM Korea James Kim said in a statement.   “I also appreciate that the Korean government has recognized the importance of FDI (foreign direct investment) inducement and shown that they value stakeholder input from the international business community,” Kim said. “As the US is one of the largest FDI investors in Korea, I believe we could do better with these reform measures in place.”   The Ministry of Economy and Finance of Korea on Thursday unveiled a policy to revise the taxation system, which is targeted at cutting corporate and personal income taxes, including lowering of the maximum taxation rate for businesses from 25 percent to 22 percent.   AMCHAM had previously called for a tax reform for foreign businesses and individuals by delivering a letter to President Yoon earlier this year on behalf of the international business community in Korea.   In the letter, 34 AMCHAM board members addressed the need to restore the flat tax rate for foreign residents, restructure inheritance tax obligations on foreign residents, improve the flexibility of employment conditions, mitigate CEO risk, and improve the regulatory environment to ensure proactive communication in support of transforming Korea’s position as a regional headquarter in Asia.   “I am seeing more interest than ever from U.S. companies in investing in Korea across all industries,” Kim said. “Korea can increase its economic dynamism and become attractive to foreign investors by adjusting to meet global standards. Korea’s corporate and individual tax regime could be made much more competitive compared to its peer countries in Asia.”   Source: https://news.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20220722000528&md=20220722153303_BL 

2022.07.22

[Live Interview - CNBC] Yellen says the U.S. and its allies should use ‘friend-shoring’ to give supp…

Yellen says the U.S. and its allies should use ‘friend-shoring’ to give supply chains a boost Capital Connection, CNBC - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has reiterated the need for the United States and its trusted trading partners to boost supply chain resilience through “friend-shoring,” but said this does not mean the U.S. is retreating from the rest of world.   In a speech made at South Korean conglomerate LG’s Science Park in Seoul on Tuesday, Yellen drummed up support from allies of the U.S. to work together in carving up more resilient supply chains among trusted partners through “friend-shoring.”   The term draws on the concepts of “onshoring” and “nearshoring,” which refer to the transferring of supply chains back home or closer to home, as opposed to having them in foreign countries. “Friend-shoring” goes beyond that but limits supply chain networks to allies and friendly countries.   The U.S. has been pushing for more security in its supply chains since the Covid pandemic started. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an order in early 2021 to review American supply chains with an aim to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.   “Supply chain resilience is a key focus of the Biden-Harris administration. And the necessity of this work has been illustrated clearly by the events of the past two years, first by Covid-19 and our efforts to fight the pandemic and now by Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine,” Yellen said.    “Together they have redrawn the contours of global supply chains and trade.”  “Working with allies and partners through friend-shoring is an important element of strengthening economic resilience while sustaining the dynamism and productivity growth that comes with economic integration.”   Those initiatives, however, have prompted concerns of a possible global economic decoupling, particularly as the United States and other countries seek to avoid an overreliance on China.    Yellen said these measures do not indicate the U.S. is withdrawing from global trade. Rather, she said, they show that friendly countries are taking a longer-term perspective on vulnerabilities in an effort to make economies more productive.   “We do not want a retreat from the world, causing us to forgo the benefits it brings to the American people and the markets for businesses and exports,” Yellen said, in reference to deepening ties with South Korea.  “In doing so we can help to insulate both American and Korean households from the price increases and disruptions caused by geopolitical and economic risks …in that sense, we can continue to strengthen the international system we’ve all benefited from, while also protecting ourselves from the fragilities in global trade networks.”  Supply chain resilience dominated this leg of Yellen’s visit to Asia, which followed last week’s trip to Bali, Indonesia, for the Group of 20 meeting.    South Korea’s LG also reaffirmed its latest U.S. collaboration, a $1.7 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing expansion in Michigan, while Yellen outlined Hyundai’s electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in Georgia and Samsung’s semiconductor chip plant in Texas.    Other ventures that support supply chain resilience efforts include the recently announced Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Yellen added.  With ‘friend-shoring,’ South Korea and the U.S. are in an ideal spot,” James Kim, chair of AmCham in South Korea, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Tuesday.  “This is the most exciting phase I have seen in the past 18 years.”   Kim said while there were more direct South Korean investments in the United States than vice versa, American interests in the Asian country are growing. A recent survey by AMCHAM shows that for the first time, South Korea ranks as the second-most attractive location for regional headquarters in Asia, after Singapore, Kim said.

2022.07.22

[ALC2022 - Special Fireside Chat with Walter Cho, Chairman & CEO of Hanjin Group and Korean Air ]“아시…

“아시아나 인수 제안 받고 10초간 멍~” 조원태가 밝힌 비하인드  조선일보 최연진 기자 - 조원태 한진그룹 회장은 13일 “위생, 안전이 최고 가치로 올라선 ‘포스트 코로나’ 시대에 항공산업은 당분간 ‘생존 모드’를 지속하게 될 것”이라며 “변화하는 고객의 요구에 맞춰 항공사도 다양한 선택지를 제시해야 살아남을 수 있다”고 말했다.  조 회장은 “(우리의 일상이) 코로나 이전으로 돌아갈 수 있을지 의문”이라고 전제한 뒤 “많은 기업이 향후 5년간 생존하기 힘들 것이지만 이를 오히려 성장의 기회로 삼아야 한다”고 말했다.  조 회장은 이날 제13회 아시안리더십콘퍼런스(ALC)에서 ‘뉴노멀 시대 항공운송산업의 대전환’을 주제로 대한항공의 코로나 위기 극복 비결과 미래 비전을 소개했다.  그는 제임스 김 주한미국상공회의소(암참) 회장과 대담을 통해, 회장 취임 이후 알려지지 않은 이야기와 포스트 코로나 시대 생존 전략을 전했다. 조 회장이 국내 미디어 행사에 연사로 나선 것은 2019년 취임 후 처음이다.  조 회장은 부친인 고(故) 조양호 한진그룹 회장의 뒤를 이어 2019년 4월 회장 자리에 올랐지만 이듬해 코로나 팬데믹이 덮치며 큰 위기를 맞았다. 하지만 대한항공은 화물 운송에 집중하는 전략으로 국내외 항공사 대부분이 적자를 내는 상황에서도 지난해 사상 최대 영업이익(1조4180억원)을 기록했다.  조 회장은 “처음 임직원 중 한 명이 ‘빈 여객기를 화물기로 활용하자’고 제안했을 때엔 ‘미쳤다’고 생각했지만 지상에 서 있는 항공기들을 보며 화물 운송 확대를 결심했다”며 “결과는 성공적이었고 마스크, 의약품 등 긴급 물자 수송에도 기여할 수 있었다”고 말했다.   ◇”아시아나 인수 제안에 ‘깜짝’... 10초간 가만히 있었다”  대한항공은 현재 아시아나항공 인수·합병과 관련해 해외 경쟁 당국 심사를 받고 있다. 13국 경쟁 당국 중 7국 당국에서 승인을 받았고 미국·유럽연합(EU)·중국 등의 심사가 진행 중이다. 조 회장은 “올해 안으로 좋은 결과가 있을 것으로 예상한다”고 했다. 그는 “인수·합병 작업이 완료되면 동북아 최대 항공사로 부상해 고객에게 더 나은 경험을 제공할 수 있게 된다”며 “두 항공사는 늘 동시간대 출발을 해왔는데 합병 이후에는 서로 다른 시간대에 항공기를 출발시켜 고객 선택의 폭을 넓힐 수 있다”고 했다.  조 회장은 2020년 산업은행으로부터 아시아나 인수 제안을 받았을 때의 에피소드도 소개했다. 그는 “은행에서 만나자고 하기에 ‘대출 상환을 재촉하려나’ 생각했다”면서 “인수 제안을 받고선 깜짝 놀라 10초 동안 답변도 안 하고 가만히 있었다”고 했다. 그는 “하지만 일생에 한 번뿐인 기회가 왔고 이걸 놓치면 다시는 잡을 수 없을 것이라는 판단이 들어 ‘무조건 하겠다’고 답했다”며 “아시아나 직원들을 위해서라도 꼭 필요한 결정이라고 생각했다”고 말했다.   ◇”글로벌 항공업계 ‘생존 모드’ 계속될 것”  조 회장은 코로나 엔데믹(풍토병화)이 오더라도 러시아의 우크라이나 침공과 코로나 이전에 비해 급등한 유가 등으로 인해 글로벌 항공업계가 당분간 어려움을 겪을 것이라고 전망했다. 그는 “코로나 전 배럴당 평균 60달러 안팎이던 유가가 지금은 130달러 수준까지 치솟았고 경제 전망도 좋지 않아 미래를 대비하기가 쉽지 않은 상황”이라고 했다. 조 회장은 “어쩌면 우리는 코로나보다 더 어려운 상황에 직면해 수년간 ‘생존 모드’에 들어가게 될 수 있다”고 했다. ‘언제쯤 코로나 이전으로 돌아갈 수 있을까’란 질문에 조 회장은 “돌아갈 수 있을 것인지 의문”이라고 답했다. 그는 “팬데믹을 거치면서 방역·위생·안전에 대한 고객의 기준이 상당히 높아졌고 여행 트렌드도 완전히 변했다”며 “항공업계도 이에 맞춰 기민하게 변화해야 한다”고 했다. 과거에는 항공기 1대에 최대한 많은 승객을 태웠다면, 앞으로는 넉넉한 공간을 제공하는 식으로 전략을 수정해야 한다는 것이다.  조 회장은 “많은 기업이 향후 5년간 생존하지 못할 가능성이 큰데 이를 오히려 성장의 기회로 삼아야 한다”며 “대한항공의 아시아나 인수 역시 생존과 성장을 위한 결정”이라고 했다.  대한항공은 항공우주 등 미래 산업 투자에도 박차를 가하고 있다. 조 회장은 “향후 항공우주산업의 화두는 UAV(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle·무인 항공기)와 UAM(Urban Air Mobility·도심 항공 교통)이 될 것으로 보고 다른 기업들과 함께 상용화 프로젝트 등에 참여하고 있다”며 “국내에 갇히지 않고 글로벌 스탠더드에 맞게 각종 시스템을 개발하는 데 집중하겠다”고 했다.   출처:www.chosun.com/economy/industry-company/2022/07/15/267DG4YCNBHHNFIPR7SB6XQBNU/?utm_source=naver&;utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=naver-news

2022.07.15

[ALC2022 - 1:1 Exclusive Fireside Chat with Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City] 에릭 애덤스 뉴욕시장 “뉴욕도 한류 …

에릭 애덤스 뉴욕시장 “뉴욕도 한류 인기… 한국은 가장 멋진 파트너” 조선일보 이기우 기자 - 에릭 애덤스 미국 뉴욕시장은 13일 “한국과 서울은 뉴욕에 중요한 글로벌 파트너”라며 “여러 한국 콘텐츠가 뉴욕에서 인기를 끌고 있는 만큼 한국 기업들의 적극적 투자를 환영한다”고 했다.   베테랑 경찰 출신인 애덤스 시장은 역대 두 번째 흑인 뉴욕시장으로, 올 초 취임 후 공약대로 첫 월급을 비트코인으로 받는 등 많은 화제를 뿌렸다. 그는 이날 아시안리더십콘퍼런스(ALC)에 화상으로 참석해 제임스 김 주한미국상공회의소(암참) 회장과 대담했다.   애덤스 시장은 “한국을 방문했을 당시 혁신적 기술, 사람들의 친절함, 협력적 정신을 보고 크게 감명받았다”며 “뉴욕에 한국은 최우선 교역 파트너”라고 했다. 그는 “뉴욕에 본사·지사를 둔 한국 회사도 많고, 한국과 교역 협력하는 일이 뉴욕의 경제를 추동할 것”이라며 “최근 코로나로 인한 각종 제한 조치도 해제되는 추세이기 때문에 한국인 관광객들도 언제든 뉴욕을 찾아 달라”고 했다. 그는 “2001년 9·11 테러와 지난 2년간 코로나 바이러스 창궐 등 지속적 위기가 있었지만, 뉴욕은 위기에 굴하지 않고 다시 일어나는 저력을 가진 도시”라며 “9·11 테러 당시에도 분연히 떨쳐 일어나 모든 것을 재건했고, 코로나에 대해서도 의료 시스템을 지키기 위해 여러 조치를 하고 있다”고 했다.   최근 뉴욕에서는 한국인을 비롯한 아시아 인종에 대한 증오 범죄가 잇따라 일어나고 있다. 이에 대해 애덤스 시장은 “뉴욕도 미국의 다른 도시와 마찬가지로 범죄 문제가 있지만, 시 당국에서 범죄에 강력하게 대응하고 있다”며 “3만6000여 경찰이 뉴욕을 지키고 있고, 수백만 관광객이 타임스스퀘어·브로드웨이 등 주요 관광지를 방문하고 있다”고 했다.  출처: www.chosun.com/international/2022/07/13/B75EMFZ7YZCOLGU65LKSPDQAFI/?utm_source=naver&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=naver-news 

2022.07.15

[TV News] Prime Minister Han says deregulation is key to new administration's economic policies

Prime Minister Han says deregulation is key to new administration's economic policies  Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News - South Korean Prime Minister, Han Duck-soo, promised to create a more favorable environment for foreign companies in South Korea through deregulation.   Speaking in front of around 100 representatives of U.S. companies at special meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea on Friday the Prime Minister said the leadership of the new government, including President Yoon Suk-yeol, is extremely committed to make this happen.   "We will stick to ourselves more market left and the private led growth. And that means we are shifting our years from the previous five years income-led growth into investment-led growth. That's why we are focusing on de-regulation"   He also hinted that the government is working to lower the corporate tax rate from 25 to 22 percent. He also noted that there will be reforms to labor regulations as well as investing more into education to further boost South Korea's work force.   When asked about the KORUS FTA which he helped make happen ten years ago he said it was work he is proud of as the FTA increased bilateral trade by 70 percent. However, the Yoon administration will continue to work to maintain the FTA in a way that's more fitting to today's society.   "We have issues on other things which are not fully kept up with what really anticipated when we did our agreements. So including how digital economy can do and how they can impact our FTAs. and maybe some kind of dispute settlement processes should be improved more. More trade procedures should be simplified and things like that."   As for the security issues on the Peninsula which foreign companies may consider as North Korea continues to pose threats he referred to the recent trilateral summit among South Korea, U.S., and Japan during the NATO summit in Madrid. He said through improved relations with Japan, the security risks will be much more manageable as three countries work together.   Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAVPpAoRwd8 

2022.07.04

[News Article] Prime minister welcomes US firms relocating Asian headquarters to Korea

Prime minister welcomes US firms relocating Asian headquarters to Korea By Park Jae-hyuk, The Korea Times - The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) has won support from the Yoon Suk-yeol administration for its major goal of making Korea the regional headquarters of Asia for multinational companies. During a special meeting hosted by AMCHAM, Friday, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said that the government is open to resolving problems facing foreign businesspeople who seek to manage their Asian operations here in Korea.He noted that Korea should now become a global hub and not just the hub of Northeast Asia, a goal he had pursued when he served as the prime minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2007. "We'll look at what actually hinders the realization of the vision," he said. "You are free to contact us."Han promised that the government will improve Korea's foreign investment environment by abolishing all kinds of regulations contradictory to international standards. He also introduced the government's efforts to educate talented students in Korea to increase the number of experts in semiconductors and high-tech industries. He especially cited the phrase, "fellow global citizens," which was mentioned multiple times in the president's inaugural speech as proof of the administration's cosmopolitan attitude, saying that Yoon's predecessors had only mentioned "Korean diaspora" or "North Korean residents.""We will achieve an unprecedented level of freedom and market economy in Korea," Han said.   He also commended the ongoing success of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA), which marked its 10th anniversary this year. He highlighted that the KORUS FTA will continue to be a platform that creates mutually beneficial opportunities for both countries.   As Korea's former ambassador to the U.S., he emphasized the Korean government's commitment to strengthening a bilateral partnership with the U.S., not just in terms of economy, but also in terms of security.   AMCHAM Chairman James Kim appreciated the prime minister's leadership in driving Yoon's deregulation and economic agenda.   "AMCHAM really wants to support the Korean Government in creating the best business environment so that Korea could emerge as a regional headquarters of Asia," Kim said, promising that AMCHAM members will also support the Korean government's efforts to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan.   Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2022/07/419_332011.html?da 

2022.07.03

[2022 Korea Times Forum] Yoon urged to enable Korea to fulfill potential as global business hub

Yoon urged to enable Korea to fulfill potential as global business hub  Business experts view Korea-unique standards as obstacles to hub plan   By Park Jae-hyuk, The Korea Times - President Yoon Suk-yeol should accelerate efforts to abolish regulations conflicting with international standards, in order to prevent Korea from repeating failures in its decades-long drive to become a global business hub, according to business leaders from the U.S. and Europe as well as renowned Korean experts participating in the 2022 Korea Times Forum, Tuesday.   The panelists expressed optimism overall about the possibility of Asia's fourth-largest economy becoming an attractive destination for multinational companies, thanks to the new government's deregulatory stance. But at the same time, they pointed out that the country still has many things to do to realize its potential as a business hub.   “Our board of governors wrote a letter to President-elect Yoon when he became the president, and gave him our strong confirmation that we want to help make Korea a regional hub,” American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) Chairman James Kim said. “But we did ask him to do a few things ― one is taxation both at corporate and individual level, Korea-unique standards and some CEO risk that happens.”   European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) Chairperson Dirk Lukat mentioned international standards, labor reform and transparency in regulations as the three key areas pointed out by European businesses active in Korea. “With international standards accepted and applied in Korea, administrative processes will be simplified allowing new products to reach markets timely, reducing the cost and making it more attractive for foreign companies to invest in Korea,” he said. “Lately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw some areas where foreigners were discriminated particularly, if you look at the acceptance of overseas inoculations.”   Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Executive Vice Chairman Woo Tae-hee agreed that strict regulations, high corporate taxes and labor market rigidity have acted as obstacles to foreign companies doing business here, making it especially difficult for Korea to achieve its goal of becoming a global financial hub. From that standpoint, he was skeptical about newly elected Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok's strategy to make the city a financial hub of East Asia by attracting companies, banks and financial institutions that are leaving Hong Kong due to security issues. “To attract money from Hong Kong or elsewhere, you need to have a free flow of information and capital. To do this, he needs to establish a transparent and free financial market that is not regulated by the government,” Woo said. “I don't have confidence that Incheon has a better chance than Hong Kong.”   Korean Academic Society of Business Administration President Han Sang-man, who is also a professor of Sungkyunkwan University Business School, called for increased labor market flexibility in order for Korea to become a global business hub. “We should consider testing a flexible labor system by applying it to innovative industries or foreign companies for a short period of time, so that we can analyze how the system affects the entire job market,” he said.    Right moment to achieve goal  The panelists expected Korea to be able to become a global business hub, once the country solves the problems they mentioned.   “The future is already here,” Kim said. “We have seven members on the AMCHAM board of governors who are running Asia right here from Korea.” The lobby group for American businesses here has made continuous efforts over the past few years to relocate regional headquarters of U.S. firms to Korea from other business hubs in Asia, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Those efforts were based on its confidence in Korea's business prospects and its belief that Korea is already well-positioned to emerge as a regional business headquarters, according to the AMCHAM chairman.   A recent survey of the organization's members also showed that Korea was selected as the second-most-preferred destination for regional business headquarters in Asia after Singapore, confirming once again Korea's attractiveness as an investment destination for multinational companies. Citing the recent relocation of The New York Times' Asian digital hub to Korea from Hong Kong, the AMCHAM chairman noted that the head of the U.S. media company's Seoul office was also satisfied with Korea's digital infrastructure, human resources and people fluent in English.   “Now is the time [for Korea] to compete aggressively with other countries,” he said. Lukat said that the ECCK is keen to support Yoon on his declared target of deregulation. As the CEO of Schenker Korea, the local subsidiary of German logistics firm DB Schenker, he advised the Yoon administration to take advantage of the strengths of Incheon International Airport and Busan Port as distribution hubs for overseas companies.   “Both the Incheon International Airport and the Busan Port are part of free economic zones, adding to the attractiveness of the state-of-the-art infrastructure,” he said. “I hope the Incheon government will not concentrate only on banking or finance, but also to increase this hub.”   Woo saw that Schenker Korea's construction of distribution centers here shows Korea's attractiveness as a regional hub as well as a global logistics hub. Although he was skeptical of efforts to foster a financial hub in Korea, the KCCI executive vice chairman was confident about Korea becoming an R&D hub. The World Health Organization's designation of Korea earlier this year as a global biomanufacturing training hub supported his claim. “The best attractive factor for Korea nowadays is the global value chain, because our firms are doing very well and making progress,” he said.   Han agreed with other panelists on Korea's potential to become a global business hub. However, the professor emphasized the necessity of shifting paradigms, saying that a “platform” has been more important than a “hub” in this era of digital transformation. “Korea has leading businesses, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai Motor, SK and POSCO,” he said. “For Korea to play its role as a platform in Asia, the government should establish strategies to foster upstream and downstream industries.”   Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/common/printpreviews.asp?categoryCode=419&newsIdx=331397 

2022.06.21