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Korea’s top 52 business leaders to join Moon in US summit

CEOs and business leaders from some of the country’s top conglomerates are heading to the United States alongside President Moon Jae-in for a two-day Korea-US Business Summit with President Donald Trump next week, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced Thursday.

In Moon’s first international trip as the new president, he will be joined by a 52-person Korean business delegation, which includes Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, LG Corp. Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon and Samsung Electronics CEO and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, who is slated to pinch-hit for the currently detained de facto chief Lee Jae-yong.

The KCCI confirmed its list of 52 executives had been approved by Cheong Wae Dae.

The delegation is composed of KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan and well as the leaders of 10 conglomerates, 14 mid-sized firms, 23 small and medium-sized businesses, which account for more than two-thirds of the entire delegations.

Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Park Yong-maan (Yonhap)
Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Park Yong-maan (Yonhap)

Following last minute changes to the list, Lotte Group’s Huh Soo-young, Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical’s Lee Jang-han and Medytox’s Jung Hyun-ho were removed from the list and replaced by Hanyang’s Lee Ki-seung, Sanha’s Park Sung-taek and Sewon Cellontech’s Jang Jung-ho.

In the case of Lotte Group, it has been reported the company will not join the delegation due to its ongoing legal battles. 

In selecting the members of the delegation, KCCI officials said it prioritized companies that showed solid investment, trade and business initiatives with the US.

In addition to the Korean business delegates, two Korea-based US company officials, James Kim, CEO of GM Korea and chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and Amit Laroya, president of 3M Korea, were also added to the list. According to KCCI, the two CEO’s were added because of the companies’ contributions to domestic job creation.

Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun (Hyundai Motor Company)
Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun (Hyundai Motor Company)

This business group selection is similar to the 51-member economic delegations that accompanied former President Park Geun-hye’s first visit to the United States in May 2013. However, in her return visit to the US in October 2015, Park was accompanied by a delegation of 166 members.

By industry, IT and information security accounts for eight of the representative companies, followed by energy and environment, high-tech companies as well as machinery and equipment each accounting for seven; automobiles and auto parts with six members; medical and biotechnology and electricity and electronics with five each, consumer goods and distribution with three; while new materials, plant and engineering, and robotics will each be represented by one member.

By Julie Jackson (