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Cheong Wa Dae pledges more open communications with business

President Moon Jae-in and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won attend the Commerce & Industry Day  event held in Seoul on March 31. (Cheong Wa Dae)
President Moon Jae-in and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won attend the Commerce & Industry Day  event held in Seoul on March 31. (Cheong Wa Dae)

Cheong Wa Dae has pledged to facilitate communications with the business community through more frequent, official meetings, saying gone are the days of secret meetings for shady deals.

According to the presidential office Wednesday, President Moon Jae-in’s new chief of staff for policy Lee Ho-seung plans to hold a series of meetings with heads of the nation’s key business groups this month in a way to better communicate with businesses in all sizes from chaebol to small merchants.

Starting with meetings with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, the head of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the nation’s largest business lobby, and Kim Ki-mun, chief of the Korea Federation of SMEs, on Wednesday, Lee plans to visit the Employers Federation, the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises and the Korea International Trade Association in the coming days.

“The agenda items will include government-private cooperation measures to revive the economy, ranging from Korean New Deal to carbon neutrality to easing regulations,” presidential spokesperson Kang Min-seok told reporters.

“Rather than holding government-led events, Cheong Wa Dae plans to strengthen communications by visiting business groups to listen to their voices directly.”

The relay meetings come after Moon stressed better communications with businesses when he attended the Commerce & Industry Day event hosted by the KCCI on March 31.

In a separate meeting with his close aides on April 1, he also said: “Gone are the days of shady private meetings between business and politics. Having a meeting itself doesn’t need to be taboo. I ask you to hold frequent meetings with businesses publicly, not behind closed doors.”

Amid the left-leaning president’s push to reach out to business, the Federation of the Korean Industries, once the nation’s largest business lobby representing big family-run conglomerates, was not included in the initial list of the groups his top policy advisor plans to visit.

The FKI has now lost much of its influence after the nation’s top four conglomerates – Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG – departed following allegations that it played a role in collecting bribes from its members for the former President Park Geun-hye who currently serves her prison-term on abuse of power charges.

“Many of the FKI members are also members of other groups we plan to meet. If necessary, we can talk to them,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said on the condition of anonymity, hinting at no immediate plans to visit the FKI.

By Lee Ji-yoon (