By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editors Choe Nam-suk, Kim Jung-mi
Chairman Yongmaan Park of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “We have good news that we have achieved the aim of attaining the US$30,000 goal in the per-capita GNI of the people and the trade volume of US$1 trillion as well as developing a political climate on the Korean peninsula where a good opportunity will be provided for the system of peace on the Korean peninsula.”
Chairman Park made the remarks in his opening address at the annual New Year meeting of the Korean business people at the COEX Grand Ballroom in southern Seoul on Jan. 3, 2018.
The annual meeting of the government-business world leaders was attended by an estimated total of 1,500 top business leaders in Korea as well as the leaders of the government and various other segments of Korean society, including labor union leaders. Also present at the meeting were a good number of foreign diplomatic mission chiefs.
“All the same,” disclosed Park, “the business world is having a seriously hard time and I personally find much room for improvement for the situation where we have not been able to reverse the circumstaces where the economy has been making a downward march.”
Then he said, “I would say that for most of the structural problems we face today we already know the causes and have solutions and I only suspect that we might have missed the opportunity to find adequate solutions to them due to various short-term issues and conflicting interests involving all of us for an extended period of time.” Then he suggested, “I am wondering if it would not be a good idea for us all to reflect on ourselves trying to see if we should not hold ourselves responsible for the situation.”
“Fortunately, however,” he said, “I would think that the appeals and suggestions of the businesses, to a considerable extent, were reflected in the New Year policy direction of the government and it is my idea that we the business operators provide detailed recommendations so that they could be adequately reflected in the implementation of the new policies.”
The Korean society is facing a grave question today, eg., “Shall we continue to seek continued growth or shall we now divide the fruits so far attained?”
Chairman Park said, “This dictomous way of thinking should be done away with!”
He suggested: “Growth should be sought in such a way that it could be attained in a voluntary manner on the part of the market and for this purpose effort should be made to change the platform in favor of attaining such aims. On the other hand, distribution could be improved through improvement and expansion of the social security network. These are the tasks and problems that we have today to tackle.”
Then he declared, “These two problems are both what we have to handle and seek find a solution to and I would say that we can do it and them.”
“At the same time,” he suggested, “we all should try to put an end to the ‘consumptive debates’ and try to muster all our efforts to find a concrete solution to attain our goals.”
Chairman Park also gave a piece of his mind.
The attendees that evening included Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Hong Nam-ki, Minister of Industry and Commerce Sung Yoon-mo, Minister of Science, Technology and Information Yoo Young-min, Minister of Administration and Safety Kim Bu-kyum, Minister of Employment and Lab or Lee Jae-gap, Minister of SME-Venture Business Hong Jong-hak and Chairman Kim Sang-jo of Fair Transactions Committee.
From the business world came, besides Chairman Park of the Chamber, Vice Chairman Yoon Bu-keun of Samsung Electronics, Chairperson Hyun Jung-Eun of Hyundai Business Group, Chairman Koo Ja-yul of LG Business Group, Vice Chairman Hwang Kak-kyu of Lotte Business Group, Chairman Kim Yoon of Samyang Business Group, Chairman Park Sam-koo of Kumho-Asiana Business Group, and President Kong Young-un of Hyundai Motor Co., Ltd.
There also were leaders of the economic/business organizations, who included Chairmenn Kim Young-joo of Korea International Trade Association, Sohn Kyung-shik of Korea Management Federation, Park Sung-taek of Small-Medium Businesses Federation, and Kim Joo-young of the Federation of Korea Trade Unions.
From the political circles came Chairmen Lee Hae-chan of the ruling Democratic Party, Kim Byung-joon of the Emergency Committee of the main opposition Baeun Mirae Party, and Lee Jung-mi of the progressive Justice Party (a lady).
Then there were foreign mission chiefs present at the meeting, who included Ambassadors Harry Harris of the United States, Philip Turner of New Zeeland, James Choi of Australia and Stephan Auer of Germany.
Among the business company leaders were CEOs Kim Hi-yong of TYM, Young-woong Kong of Hyundai Motor Group, Sangbok Lee of Pan Continental Shipping, Jeong-Eun Hyun of Hyundai Business Group, Kim Yoon of Samyang Business Group, Kim Choon-sik of Samwhan Business Group, Song Byeong-sun of Korea Enterprises Data Co., Song Byeong-sun of Korea Enterprises Data and Lee Dae-man of Pocheon Charm Valley Club.