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Press Luncheon Spotlights Korea's Investment Environment and More

- Invest Korea Head Kiwon Han spoke about why Korea can serve as investors’ Northeast Asian business hub and the business-related advantages Korea offers

The Meet the Press Luncheon 2015 was held on Sept. 24 at the Plaza Hotel. Organized by Invest Korea, the investment promotion arm of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, the luncheon briefed foreign correspondents and journalists from Korea’s English-language newspapers on Korea’s investment environment, regulatory reforms and more.

Kiwon Han, the head of Invest Korea and the host of the luncheon, started the program with an introduction to Korea’s investment environment that covered the following.

Recent economic developments have changed the foreign investment landscape of not only Korea, but also of East Asia. Three factors strengthen the investment infrastructure of Korea and the country’s ability to serve as the business hub of Northeast Asia. The first is Korea’s large free trade agreement (FTA) network, which includes the Korea-China FTA, signed in June. The other two factors are Korea’s membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Korea’s position as an offshore RMB hub nation.

Korea’s 52-partner FTA network includes trade pacts with the EU, United States and China, covering 73.5 percent of the global GDP. The most recent trade pact with China opens up limitless possibilities for Korea’s foreign investors. For example, global companies wanting to enter China and the ASEAN markets can invest in Korea and use it as a springboard. Companies in China can expand their business globally through Korea’s free trade network while overcoming tariff barriers.

Korea is also expected to play a significant role as one of the China-led AIIB’s 57 founding member nations. The AIIB is the world’s 4th largest international financial institution after the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. As demand in Asia for infrastructure and construction projects will rise, the AIIB is expected to grow in influence. The building of infrastructure, increased urbanization and an expanded middle class and ageing society will help Asia become a more dynamic place for business and foreign direct investment.

Finally, Korea became the world’s fifth offshore RMB hub nation last year. This means companies in Korea and China can directly trade and conduct commercial transactions with the RMB. And companies in Korea can directly invest in RMB assets in mainland China.

Of course, there are many other advantages of investing in Korea, the three above being the most recent economic developments that boost Korea’s appeal as an investment destination.

Some of the other main reasons investors choose Korea are:
- The fact that it’s the 5th easiest country in the world in which to do business, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report
- A financially stable market in the face of everything from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 to this year’s MERS outbreak
- Globally leading industries, including healthcare, mobile devices, displays, lithium batteries, D-RAM, electronic chemicals and shipbuilding
- Excellent human resources, including in the biotechnology industry and for R&D
- World-class logistical infrastructure and major geographical advantages
- And strong government support of foreign investment
With strong investment infrastructure, Korea is an ideal investment destination in which to succeed domestically and from which to grow globally.

Source: Invest Korea (Sept. 25, 2015)
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