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Business leaders eye trilateral consultative body to boost trade

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : May 27, 2024 - 17:00

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From left: Tokura Masakazu, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, Chey Tae-won, the SK Group chairman who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, attend the Korea-Japan-China Business Summit held at the KCCI headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap) From left: Tokura Masakazu, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, Chey Tae-won, the SK Group chairman who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, attend the Korea-Japan-China Business Summit held at the KCCI headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Business leaders from Korea, Japan and China have announced plans to form a three-way economic consultative body among private sectors to effectively address pressing economic concerns and foster future cooperation among the three countries.

Over 280 business leaders from the three countries attended the business summit Monday, shortly after the trilateral summit, including SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, also serving as KCCI chairman, Tokura Masakazu, chairman of the Japan Business Federation and Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The three organizations cohosted this year's business summit event.

"Today, the economies of the three nations have successfully rebounded from the pandemic's impact, entering a pivotal phase focused on laying the foundations for sustainable prosperity," Chey said in his opening speech, at the business summit, which took place at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters.

"In light of this, the business sector has together chosen 'economic revitalization' and 'sustainable development' as the forum's theme, engaging in discussions on private-level cooperation across various domains including digital transformation, education revitalization, green initiatives and supply chain collaboration. As part of the economic cooperation framework, a private consultative body centered on economic organizations will be established to ensure the effective and regular operation of business summits." Chey added.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang were also present at the business summit following their trilateral summit talks -- the first in over four years.

In a joint declaration issued after the ninth Korea-Japan-China Summit on Monday, the three countries agreed to ensure a "global level playing field" in economic cooperation and trade. They committed to fostering a "free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable" trade and investment environment. The countries also reaffirmed their commitment to keeping markets open and strengthening supply chain cooperation to prevent disruptions.

The Korean government was represented by Trade Minister Ahn Deok-geun and Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul. From the presidential office, National Security Office Chief Chang Ho-jin, Senior Secretary for Economic Affairs Park Chun-sup and First Deputy Director of the National Security Office Kim Tae-hyo, were in attendance.

Japan Business Federation Chairman said that the Japanese economy has emerged from roughly three decades of deflation but now faces the challenge of improving individual productivity amid low birth rates and an aging population, challenges that are similarly being addressed to be solved by the other two countries.

"During this business summit, frank discussions were conducted with the aim of rejuvenating our economy and achieving a sustainable society," Tokura said. "It became evident once more that there remains considerable scope for cooperation among Korea, Japan and China."

China’s CCPIT Chairman emphasized the growing need for cooperation within the highly effective consultative body formed through the exchange of rich history and culture shared among the three countries.

"The challenges posed by the pandemic and increased protectionism in recent years, such as a decline in global trade and heightened uncertainty in supply chains, underscore the pressing need for enhanced economic cooperation among the three countries," Ren said.

The chairman expressed commitment to collaborating on initiatives aimed at advancing digital transformation, revitalizing trade and stabilizing supply chains among the three nations.

The trilateral business summit began in Beijing in 2009, with the most recent seventh event before the pandemic held in China's Chengdu in December 2019. The next trilateral business summit is expected to be held in Japan.