중앙데일리

Business lobby head calls for looser rules

Apr 25,2007
Cho Suck-rai
The new leader of the nation’s top business lobby group ascribed Korea’s continued sluggish investment to excessive restrictions and anti-corporate sentiment yesterday.
A month after taking the helm of the Federation of Korean Industries, Cho Suck-rai, in a meeting with broadcasting reporters, likened business entities to fish. “When you throw a stone, fish will hide themselves from sight,” he said, “We are seeing investment shrinking because there are so many uncertainties and business-related regulations.” Last year Korea ranked 13th out of 15 Asian countries in GDP growth.
The chairman, who also heads the mid-size conglomerate the Hyosung Group, said the government must scrap its restrictions on building new plants in the Seoul Metropolitan area. He said Japan, Britain and France had previously banned construction of manufacturing facilities in and around their capital cities, but eased the rules to boost economic growth.
“I understand the intent of the development restrictions ― distributing investments across regions other than Seoul ― but some large companies requiring skilled labor and cutting-edge technologies will have a hard time recruiting far from Seoul.” He warned companies may opt to move out of this country.
Asked about a much-disputed rule prohibiting “circular investment” within conglomerates, the leader of the jaebeol interest group said the ban ought to be lifted and that there is no problem with owners exercising management rights. Some civic groups and policy makers have contended that a circular structure enables conglomerates’ owning families to control subsidiaries even if they only own a very small stake.
Cho also said that the country’s conglomerates would not donate illegal political funds to presidential candidates. “It was wrong that businesses customarily gave [illegal] funds to political figures in the past,” he said, making it clear that conglomerates will not back specific politicians, instead remaining strictly neutral.


By Seo Ji-eun Staff Writer [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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