South Korea on Wednesday called on foreign companies to expand investment and employment, promising that it will work hard to create the world's most investment-friendly environment.
In a meeting with foreign business leaders in central Seoul, Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok also promised to improve transparency of laws and implement its policies in a "stable" manner, eliminating any inconveniences foreigners could encounter in doing business here.
The meeting was attended by heads of major business lobby groups representing foreign firms including the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, and the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry. High-ranking officials of foreign companies such as Apple Korea and AIG were also in attendance.
"Korea has a lot more to offer to foreign-invested companies," Hyun said. "Korea is a treasure trove of smart workers armed with global views... It holds better IT infrastructure than other countries and has paved the Silk Road around the globe through active signing of free trade agreements."
"The government plans to create the world's best place to invest," he added. "By increasing the transparency in laws and systems and executing policies in a stable manner, we will push to help foreign-invested companies do business without inconveniences."
He noted that the Korean economy has recently been showing signs of recovery, citing latest economic indicators including the accelerating pace of job creation. He said that the recovery will pick up this year, showing confidence that the government will attain its 3.9 percent growth outlook.
He also emphasized that Korea has shown "differentiation" in tiding over the financial volatility prompted by the U.S. push to wind down its stimulus program, thanks to its strong fiscal health, continued current account surplus and sufficient amount of foreign reserves.
To keep the economic recovery going, Hyun said that corporate investment is "crucial" and asked foreign companies to take the lead.
"We ask you, foreign-invested firms, to serve as a stepping stone for the South Korean economy to take a leap forward again by expanding investment and employment here," he said.
Participants at the meeting asked for the government to enhance predictability in its tax policies and increase flexibility in the labor market, the ministry said in a press release after the meeting ended.
Financial companies showed keen interest in the issue of information transfer and finance-related taxes, while companies in the manufacturing sector voiced opinions on energy prices here and the protection of intellectual property rights, it added. (Yonhap)