President Park Geun-hye stressed the importance of increased cooperation with the outside world for the promotion of the Korean economy and emphasized that the Korean businesses should try to aggressively develop overseas market and increase their investments outside the country as well as in Korea. She made the statement speaking to an estimated 1,500 leading businessmen of Korea at a New Year meeting hosted by Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at the COEX Grand Ballroom in Gangnam, Seoul on Jan. 5, 2014.
She said, “A fish named Koi (Ing-eo in Korean and a carp in English) can grow up to about 10 centimeters inside a fish bowl but once released into the river it can grow into a big fish more a meter long.”
“Based on the network of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which we have concluded with various countries of the world,” she said, “I hope that our business people will make an added effort to further expand their range of business in the overseas market.”
Then she said, “Our competitive businesses can go out into the wide, wide world and grow into a ‘global big fish’ of the world.”
Then she said that the business people should regard this year as the ‘last chance’ to attain the goal of achieving another big leap forward and concentrate on the fruitful attainment of the ‘3-year Economic Reforms Plan’ to establish a firm foundation for the economic prosperity for the next three decades. (See excerpts from an unofficial English translation of the Korean text by The Korea Post at the end of this Article.)
Chairman Park Yong-maan of the KCCI said in a welcome speech, “ 2015 was a very important year in the fact that 2014 was a year when we start our economic reforms, 2016 is a year when we should check our achievements and that this year is our last chance to effect such reforms.”
“I expect that the Korean economy will be able to extricate itself from the rut of structural doldrums this year,” predicted Park, “and our economy will be much better than before.”
Then he stressed the importance of overcoming the growth-retarding ill-effects of the low birth rate and the ageing of the Korean society. He said, “We should all try to wisely figure out what the Republic of Korea should do to enter an advanced society this year.”
Attending the Near Year meeting, among other guests, were Chairman Kim Moo-sung of the ruling Saenuri Party, chairman Moon Hee-sang of the Emergency Committee of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Kyung-hwan, Minister Yoon Sang-jick of Trade, Industry & Energy, Chairman Huh Chang-soo of the Federation of Korea Industries, Chairman Kim Ki-moon of Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, Chairman Park Yong-maan of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chairman Han Duck-soo of Korea International Trade Association, Chairman Jung Mong-gu of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Acting Chairman Kim Young-bae of the Korea Employers’ Federation and Chairman Shin Dong-bin of the Lotte Business Group. From the media came many representatives of the major media organizations, who included Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
Among the members of the Diplomatic Corps present at the meeting were Ambassadors Carlos Victor Boungou of Gabon, Michel Idiaquez Baradat of Honduras, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Jose Luis Bernal, Raul Fernandez and Bakhtier N. Ibragimov (CDA).
Excerpts from the speech of President Park Geun-hye:
I think that it was meaningful that last year we successfully made an agreement at the tripartite meeting of the labor, management and government in a broad frame and I hope that all three parties will try to attain a grand agreement thorough concessions by all sides.
The government will do its best also for the revitalization of the economy through reduction and elimination of restrictions and coordination between the National Deregulation Plan of the KCCI and the Deregulation Portal of the government.
We will also speed up our work for the realization of the Creative Economy and reform of the main industries, and try to usher in the renaissance of the manufacturing industry through ‘Manufacturing Industry Reform 3.0.’
The government will also do its utmost to help the Korean companies do business to their heart’s content in the business territory overseas that have been further expanded by the conclusion of FTAs and at the same time expand the use of the indication system of the country of origin.
Through mutual recognition agreement, we will also try to properly deal with the non-tariff barrier and provide a tailor-made support and in marketing, finance and R&D for the benefit of small-medium enterprises (SMEs), established SMEs and the ‘hidden champions’
Consumption is a very important part of the two main axes of the economy, investment and domestic demand, and recovery of consumption is essential.
Household debts, mostly from bank loans for real housing-purchasing, pose a great measure of burden on the family budget. It is very important to provide support and assistance to reduce such family debts through adjustment of interest rate system in favor of the debtors.