Ease regulations to spur investment

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Ease regulations to spur investment

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Sohn Kyung-shik Chairman, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CEO, CJ Group

“First I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to President-elect Lee Myung-bak.
“I hope the new administration will devote itself to the nation’s economic growth so that the country can become a developed country as soon as possible.
“Though Korea is said to have achieved a per-capita national income of $20,000 last year, it is not enough for us to be regarded as a developed country. The new administration should implement policies to pull up the nation’s gross domestic product.
“I want the new president to urge companies to invest more. Now, various countries in the world are competing to improve their business environment and to invite investors. Korea should join the moves through easing regulations, reforming our tax system and stabilizing labor-management relations. If these are achieved, companies will be encouraged to invest and create jobs. Then, the domestic economy will recover its vitality.
“And I hope the new president will make greater efforts for the reconciliation and harmony of Korean society. If the society is not harmonious and continues with conflicts and feuds, it will be difficult for the nation to become a developed country, which is what all of the Korean people deeply desire. The new administration should listen to the opinions of people of all social standing and successfully adjust to their aspirations.”

By Moon So-young Staff Reporter [symoon@joongang.co.kr]



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Terry Tuharsky Former chairman, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (his term ended yesterday).

Fix issues that hurt foreign investment

“President Lee Myung-bak is a tenacious builder and a risk-taker; these are qualities of a real leader. I think he should consult widely, especially looking to get the best systems in the world. His administration will have to shake up the ministries to enhance a modern country so foreigners feel welcome. They are looking for a global society where people want to be inclusive (especially on women’s issues), communicative and compete with the best.
“For both countries, the FTA is attractive. For Korea it will be one of the best illustrations of Korea as a hub and we are already a huge trading partner. For Canada, we need to establish an Asian trading link, and we will get some large FD investments. But Canada and Korea now have serious issues to reconcile, of which Blackberry discrimination and Canadian beef are just a few. Canada is Korea’s seventh-largest trading partner and we export more to Korea than India, Brazil and Russia combined. But the Blackberry discrimination issue is not only unjust, it’s symbolic. The absence of a fully functioning Canadian-made Blackberry in the Korean market screams a message to foreign investors, and it’s not a positive one. Mix this in with the Canadian beef issue and other issues, and what should anyone’s conclusions be?
“I would recommend high level political visits between Canadians and Korea. Canada-Korea relations have been hurt, and resolving these issues could go a long way to speeding up the process.”
By Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter[hawon@joongang.co.kr]



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Koh Yu-hwan Professor of North Korean affairs, Dongguk University

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Koh Yu-hwan Professor of North Korean affairs, Dongguk University

Nuclear talks are at a crucial junction
“How the president-elect and President Roh cooperate on the North Korean nuclear issue in the coming two months, before Lee Myung-bak actually takes power, is the most important task at hand.
“Even with a more conservative approach toward the North, the new Lee administration can’t afford to reverse what has been done so far. The Bush administration wants to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue by next year and good inter-Korean relations are needed. If the new administration tries to readjust the North Korean policy in a big way, too much time will be consumed and the move could undo what has been accomplished so far.
“Pyongyang is aware of the shifting mood in the South’s policy toward the North, but minor changes could be accepted. There can be differences in priority, but the overall course should not be changed. There is no alternative.
“If the new administration does not tread carefully, the North Korea situation could lose not only its momentum, but years of work.”
By Brian Lee Staff Reporter [africanu@joongang.co.kr]



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Yoo Ho-yeol North Korea specialist, Korea University

Engagement policy with North a failure
“For the past decade, the government has implemented an engagement policy toward the North, but during that time, North Korea conducted a nuclear test. In that regard, South Korea’s policy has been a failure.
“Looking at all the energy we spend and the changes that we ought to have bestowed upon the North, the engagement policy has not been sufficient.
“There is a need to improve ties with the North, but we should dictate the pace by demonstrating that there are conditions. While most senior-level government officials are bracing for the inevitable changes at the top of their respective organizations, he should keep officials at the working level in the six-party talks in place because this is the critical moment in the nuclear negotiations.”
By Brian Lee Staff Reporter [africanu@joongang.co.kr]
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