[EDITORIALS]Foreign businesses exitForeign businesses here have been closing their offices one after another lately. Nestle Korea has shut its Seoul office temporarily because of a truckers’ strike, while around 10 others, including Owens Corning Korea, have closed their offices in the last two months. Some of them are considering withdrawing their investment in Korea completely.
They are considering taking such extreme action, risking enormous financial loss, because they are worried that they can “no longer manage business in Korea because of radical labor unions.” While unions often strike, taking even political issues as topics for negotiation, the government avoids taking action against such illegality. Naturally, it is difficult for foreign investors to understand the situation, and such perceptions as “Korea is the worst place to work, where there is no law and principles” begin to spread.
Even without labor problems, Korea is no longer an attractive place for investors. In order for the Korean economy to survive, foreign investment is essential. With it we can create jobs, increase consumption and make our economic engine run. If things continue on their current path, there is no future for the Korean economy.
President Roh Moo-hyun emphasized at the Pacific Basin Economic Council meeting that he will make sure to create an environment in which “foreigners do not hesitate to invest in Korea because of labor problems.” To assure foreign businessmen, labor policy should be changed drastically. Foreign investment will be redirected to Korea only when the law and principles are kept, illegal activities are punished and market principles prevail in the labor market. We should not let the “labor bourgeois” rob the jobs of the silent workers and college graduates who wait for job opportunities.