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Foreign Companies and Trade Minister Meet to Discuss FDI Strategies
Foreign Companies and Trade Minister Meet to Discuss FDI Strategies

On April 3, 2024, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman invited CEOs and representatives of foreign companies and business chambers to the Jingwan Temple in Seoul to discuss ideas to enhance Korea’s investment environment and further promote foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

The event, held at the historic Buddhist temple in northwestern Seoul, gathered together CEOs of the Korean offices of global enterprises in cutting-edge industries like semiconductor, battery and petrochemical, representatives of chambers of commerce in Korea, and high-ranking officials of the central government to encourage open and active discussions on FDI. Companies like Dupont, S-Oil, Boeing, Renault, Toray and Axa, as well as trade chambers of the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., Japan and China were in attendance.

The guests had the opportunity to experience traditional Buddhist practices at Jingwan Temple in a tea ceremony and meditation, and enjoyed vegan meals. Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Ahn Duk-geun said to the delegation, "We wanted to show you that Korea, with its rich roots in culture, history and its coexistence with society, is an ideal environment for communicating with global communities and hosting global firms and experts."
Foreign Companies and Trade Minister Meet to Discuss FDI Strategies
On the back of the Ministry’s goal this year to draw in USD 35 billion in FDI, Ahn pledged to do his best to accommodate to the needs and requests of foreign companies in efforts to facilitate their additional investment in the country. He said, "We've expanded state funds and raised the maximum level of financial support for foreign companies investing here. And we'll provide them with our local talents, for which we have passed a new special bill. Amid the fast-changing global trade environment and supply chain structures, we'll continue to bolster our efforts to host foreign firms in Korea.”

Foreign company CEOs made their suggestions to further encourage global investment in the country, requesting larger government incentives and improved local infrastructure. Notably, S-Oil President Ryu Yul requested that the Korean government expand its tax exemption service and streamline licensing approval procedures for the Shaheen Project, which is a large-scale petrochemical infrastructure construction project in Ulsan launched by Saudi Aramco, the largest shareholder of S-Oil, investing KRW 9.3 trillion (USD 6.9 billion). Also, Kim Seung-rok, CEO of the Korean office of the U.S.-based Air Products, requested stronger tax exemptions as an incentive for the company to make more investments in clean hydrogen projects in Korea. Dschun Song, managing director of German-headquartered BASF, requested that the government introduce more specified, detailed standards and policies for certifying carbon footprints and decarbonizing businesses so that the company can invest more for eco-friendly projects in Korea. Furthermore, Son Geon-seog, vice president for battery materials research at Belgium-based Umicore, proposed that the government expand electricity provision for local industrial complexes so that the company can increase investments for facility expansion here.
Foreign Companies and Trade Minister Meet to Discuss FDI Strategies
Aside from the companies, representatives of foreign chambers of commerce in Korea also offered suggestions to stimulate more investment in the country. Sean Blakeley, CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce in Korea, asked the government to introduce an improved electricity distribution network to encourage British firms to make more investments in offshore wind farm projects in Korea. Philippe Van Hoof, chairperson of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, expressed appreciation to the ministry for its support for European firms in Korea and asked for continued efforts to expand incentives and enhance the business environment so that European companies can also consistently commit investments in the country.

By Grace Park
Investment PR Team, Invest KOREA
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)

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