Removal of
Anti-Business Sentiment

KCCI Chairman Sohn calls for an end to ideological conflicts triggered by candlelight vigils

Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his opening speech at the 33rd KCCI Jeju Forum on July 23, warned that the economic growth of the country is being sapped by ideologically motivated candlelight vigils.
Sohn said the Korean society should be one that focuses on practical results, giving a higher priority to realistic profits and flexibility, rather than ideological conflicts, which have already decreased in advanced countries. He stressed that excessive labor union activities should be suspended, as illegal union activities based on political ideologies will weaken the national competitiveness by hurting the economy and will, as a result, reduce jobs in the country.
The KCCI Jeju Forum is held annually on Jeju Island as an opportunity for business leaders to map out their management plans for the second half and review their management results for H1. A total of 400 business leaders including heads of local KCCI units and CEOs of KCCI member firms attended the event.

Invited speakers included Minister Lee Youn-ho of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy; Park Jae-wan, senior Presidential secretary for national policy planning; Chung Woon-chan, former chancellor of Seoul National University; Lee O-ryong, advisor of the Joongang Ilbo; and Roland Villiger, representative of MacKenzie Korea Office, among others.
The KCCI chairman also warned that an excessive demand for increased wages would also hurt corporations by weakening their competitiveness to the extent that both labor and management should cooperate and share the pain during this difficult time in order to boost productivity.
In the keynote speech entitled, "Pragmatic, Creative Age, New Road for Our Businesses,"he said what the government, society and industry need are initiatives and reforms and a resolution of ideological differences, among others.
Sohn said the government tried to revise laws and regulations that hinder business activities in many ways without tangible results in the past. He called for changes in the mindsets of all government officials and staff who are in charge of implementing laws and regulations in order to find ways to reform laws and regulations hindering business activities.
He said society should support businesses so they can create jobs by being able to compete with global rivals. To do that, Sohn said, society should encourage those businesses to take risks and be venturesome and give rewards in such matters as an inheritance tax reduction and a relaxation of anti-business sentiments in the country when they are successful.
He also called on business leaders to do their utmost to uphold their social responsibilities and abide by business ethics in order to continue to secure public respect for businesses and entrepreneurs. He also called on them to resolve the high-cost and low-efficiency syndrome and reorganize their business operations in line with the changes in the business environment.
For instance, logistics costs in Korea are 1.3 times higher than that in the United States and two times higher than in Japan, which should be addressed in order for Korean firms to stay competitive, he pointed out.
The KCCI chairman also called on business leaders to look overseas for their expansion and globalization of their operation and thereby cut costs through the maximization of scales of economy.
Sohn also said a key factor in doing business in the 21st century is training manpower and securing talented personnel without regard to nationality, as they are a key asset for businesses to enhance their competitiveness. nw

Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Minister Lee Youn-ho of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy at the 33rd Jeju Forum of the KCCI held from July 23 on Jeju Island.

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