On February 13, the Roundtable
for Foreign Investors 2017
was held at the Four Seasons
Hotel in Seoul in a bid to listen
to the grievances and suggestions of
foreign-invested companies and seek
ways to swiftly resolve challenges.
Through this roundtable, the Korean government
strived to show its encouragement
and support towards foreign
investors doing business in Korea. So far,
foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea
has reached a record high of over USD 20
billion in 2016.
The roundtable was hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and organized by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). It stands as the nation’s first roundtable with foreign investors in Korea.
A total of 22 participants from foreign chambers of Korea and CEOs of foreigninvested companies took part in this event. Attendees also included the Vice Minister of MOTIE, officials from the related government ministries and agencies, and KOTRA. Notably, Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn met with foreign investors and called for sustained FDI in Korea. He also offered words of encouragement and support to foreign investors.
In his welcoming remarks, Hwang said that there are many challenges ahead due to both external and internal factors, such as the rapidly changing international climate, uncertainty over the global economy and weak domestic demand. He went on to say that the Korean government is making utmost efforts to overcome these obstacles and turn these challenges into great opportunities.
Hwang also emphasized that the government is working tirelessly to stabilize the Korean economy. He introduced various
government initiatives of economic
stabilization including contingency plans,
risk management and a close monitoring
of financial and foreign exchange markets.
Furthermore, he stressed that the
government will actively seek out ways
to revitalize the Korean economy through
support measures such as overseas market
expansion, revitalization of start-ups
and regulatory improvement.
The Acting President emphasized the importance of foreign-invested companies in Korea as they generate 13 percent of total corporate revenues, 18 percent of exports and 6 percent of the total employment in the Korean economy. As such, Hwang said he would step up efforts to make things much easier for foreigninvested companies to do business in Korea, thereby creating high-quality jobs in the country.
In his formal response to the Acting President’s speech, American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) President and CEO of GM Korea James Kim said that he firmly believed that the Korean government cares deeply about the opinions of foreign-invested companies and will make the business environment more suitable for foreign investors.
Stefan Halusa, President of Korean- German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, mentioned that foreign-invested companies in Korea have contributed significantly to the country’s economy, and they helped the Korean industry enhance its global competitiveness. He added that he would look forward to more constructive and open dialogues between the Korean government and foreign-invested companies in Korea.
The meeting continued with a followup session on grievances and suggestions, which
was moderated by me, the Foreign
Investment Ombudsman, and presided by
MOTIE’s Vice Minister Taehee Woo.
Participants said that they had fruitful discussions
on ways to improve unreasonable
As Foreign Investment Ombudsman, not only attentively listening to foreign investors' grievances, but solving them by working with relevant government ministries is key to improving Korea’s investment climate. To this end, the Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman (OFIO) aims to conduct, on a regular basis, grievance-resolution meetings with foreign-invested companies by providing more opportunities for effective two-way communication. As a part of the OFIO’s efforts, our office will continue to hold more indepth and practical meetings for foreign-invested companies, which are grouped by industrial field. Along the way, government officials from the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), in charge of regulations, and MOTIE, in charge of investment promotion, will be invited to our upcoming events for foreign investors.
I can strongly assure you that our office will provide an ideal platform for both the government and foreign investors to better communicate with one another through various foreign-investor meetings. Bringing foreign investors’ concerns to the government and having their opinions reflected in the law-making process can lay the groundwork for improved business-friendly environment for foreign investors.