Bilans d’évènement  •  La Chambre

Chambers of Commerce discuss foreign investments and the future of Korea under the next administration

Chambers of Commerce discuss foreign investments and the future of Korea under the next administration

In the aftermath of a historically close Korean election which elected Yoon Suk-yeol on March 9th, 2022, as the 20th President of the Republic of Korea, the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) together with the Korea Times invited representatives of foreign Chambers of Commerce in Korea to discuss policy direction of the next administration and issues for foreign investors.


Mr. Woo Tae-hee, executive vice chairman of KCCI, Mr. Oh Young-jin, president of Korea Times animated the debate hosting Mr. David-Pierre Jalicon, FKCCI chairman, Dr. Martin Henkelmann KGCCI president & CEO, Mrs. Lucinda Walker, BCCK executive director, and Mr. James Kim, AMCHAM chairman & CEO.


For KCCI’s vice-chairman, as “Korea is more divided than ever”, one main concern will be foreign policy affected by negative environmental factors such as Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on exports, rising prices, and omicron outbreak. However, “this is a good chance to promote FDI” according to him, given that taxation and regulations could be relaxed, such as easing sandbox systems to encourage the development of new technologies.


Among future challenges, participants discussed rising inflation (above 3% for the 5th straight month) putting pressure on households’ debts, companies’ competitiveness and the job market for an economy highly reliant on its exports. Demographic risks (0.81 child/women last year), education system and gender equality were also challenges mentioned for the next administration.


However, with a negative result of only -1% GDP growth in 2020 and rebound of 4% in 2021, Korea recorded the best performance among OECD countries in the COVID-19 era, placing it among the top 10 of the world's largest economies. As a result, confidence of foreign investors in Korea remains high in the Peninsula seen as gateway in Asia through its vast network of FTAs.


In this framework, Mr. Jalicon said “it is a historical momentum for Korea, for which we are big supporters. […] French and foreign investors are part of the same economic family and share similar interests.” 5000 French companies have business ties in Korea, 240 French companies are established here, they represent a 4 billion Euros FDI in stock, a cumulative turnover of 14,6 Billion Euro and probably the most important, they employ more than 28 000 people in all sectors or activities. “Korea should put emphasis on multilateralism. For example, the EU is negotiating a digital agreement with Japan, China and Korea. So, Korea can become a leader in gathering countries around common interests.”, he added.


“But one condition is to remove uncertainties”, Mr. Jalicon added. Indeed, he mentioned removing uncertainties & excessive pressure, introducing deregulation, chasing multiple forms of discrimination, and easing conditions for foreign CEOs, as key points to ease the ways of doing business in Korea for foreign investors.


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