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KCCI chief says discussion ‘missing’ on economy, new industries

The head of South Korea’s largest organization representing small and large businesses alike on Wednesday expressed concern that a nationwide drive to overcome economic risk by nurturing new industries and promoting deregulation has been losing its steam despite growing negative signs pointing to a possible economic recession.

“Even though we are standing at a time when we have to do our best to overcome downside risks, it is regrettable to say that discussion on economic issues itself seems to be missing from our society,” said Chairman Park Yong-maan of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry as he opened the annual roundtable session with local heads of the chamber of commerce in the southern port city of Busan.

“In regards to economic issues, I hope (the nation) to seek (right) things to do for the next 10 years and carry out the plans for the future.” 

KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan (left) speaks at a roundtable with local heads of chamber of commerce in Busan, on Wednesday. (KCCI)
KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan (left) speaks at a roundtable with local heads of chamber of commerce in Busan, on Wednesday. (KCCI)

Park didn’t single out the current political deadlock over President Moon Jae-in’s choice of new justice minister for overshadowing urgent issues for Korean businesses. But the former Doosan Group head expressed concerns over lawmakers spending most of their time fighting against each other in the upcoming regular parliamentary session later this month without working for the legislation of urgent bills for companies. “We have bills that could give a big impact to ventures and new businesses pending at the parliament. I’m sincerely asking (lawmakers) to pass bills that have no issue for discussion,” he said.

He also demanded the government lift unnecessary “old-fashioned” regulations for Korean businesses already suffering fierce competition in global markets. Investments from the corporate sector can only happen when “the power of the free market” is revived, he said, directly lashing out at existing regulatory hurdles that bar the growth of new industries.

Park was speaking at the annual event that brought 50 business leaders across the country together. The list included Huh Yong-do, chairman of Busan Chamber of Commerce, Lee Jae-ha, chairman of Daegu Chamber of Commerce and Jung Chang-sun, chairman of Gwangju Chamber of Commerce.

By Cho Chung-un (