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Minister vows support for multinationals

Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo (in checked shirt) poses with Korean CEOs of multinational companies in Korea during a meeting to discuss foreign investment at a hotel in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap News)
Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo (in checked shirt) poses with Korean CEOs of multinational companies in Korea during a meeting to discuss foreign investment at a hotel in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap News)
The government will offer full support for multinational companies in Korea to attract more foreign investment, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Seok-woo said Monday.

The minister made the remarks during a government-multinational companies conference in Seoul, attended by about 20 members of the Korean CEO’s Association of Multinational Corporation Organization.

The participants in the forum discussed foreign investment policies, labor-management issues, tax-cuts and other incentives.

The minister called for greater investment for each group, vowing full support and more frequent communication with multinational corporations in Korea.

“Foreign capital investment played a major role in Korea’s 1997-1998 foreign currency crisis, and afterwards contributed to the nation’s industrialization and breaking the $1 trillion mark in trade,” the minister said in his opening address.

Foreign investment increased 32.5 percent in the first half of 2012, hitting a record-high $7.1 billion despite the ongoing European financial crisis.

The minister also acknowleged various difficulties that Korean CEOs of multinational corporations face in doing business in Korea.

The issue of foreign companies taking profits out of the country was also addressed by participants.

“Regarding some foreign firms’ inappropriate ways of making money and taking it out of the country, I think the government and the (multinational) business corporations should work it out together,” said World Kitchen Co. general manager Park Kab-jeong.

“(The cooperation) will boost Korea’s economic competitiveness, thereby (leading to the) creation of more jobs for Korean talent.”

Park also said: “I hope that Korea implements more incentives to attract developed multinational business organizations and address possible unfairness that these firms can face during management.”

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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