[EDITORIALS]Don’t twist corporate armsRepresentatives from small and medium-sized companies, conglomerates and the nation’s top business advocates held a gathering at the Blue House to discuss a project to strengthen business cooperation between small and mid-size enterprises and major companies. The number of conglomerates in the cooperation project increased from 10 to 30 this year, and the government plans to invest 1.3 trillion won in the project.
It is meaningful that small and medium-sized businesses and conglomerates are cooperating on joint growth at a time when business conditions are unfavorable. Last year, the top five companies accounted for 88.8 percent of the total ordinary profit for listed companies. The increasing polarization of conglomerates and small and medium-sized operations should not be left untouched. The government’s argument that business cooperation is not only for the good of small and medium-sized enterprises is convincing.
The unfair treatment of subcontractors must, without a doubt, disappear.
Additionally, increasing the amount of support for small and medium-sized companies for things like financial power, technology and cash payments as well as joint overseas marketing, which is far less than that for conglomerates, will help strengthen our economy’s overall competitiveness.
However, real cooperation between conglomerates and small and medium-sized companies does not happen simply because they have a meeting at the Blue House.
The terms of cooperation in principle should be left to the market’s decision.
We should be particularly aware of social sentiment; many people blame the conglomerates for the problems of small and medium-sized companies. We should carefully look back to see whether too much burden has been placed on conglomerates for things such as the issue of temporary workers as well as the expansion of childcare facilities to raise the fertility rate, and make those subjects of cooperation.
The government role should end at creating an atmosphere of cooperation between conglomerates and small and medium businesses, and lead the businesses group to voluntarily move closer. If the government twists the arm of the conglomerates to participate in the cooperation project, it will only create a backlash, in which corporate investment retreats. We must remember that the true beginning of cooperation does not start by protecting small and medium companies but by taking businesses into consideration.