Audience members find presentation valuableDespite the early hour yesterday, the Grand Ballroom at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in central Seoul was packed with about 110 financial group leaders, diplomats and chief executives of foreign companies attending the Korea Economic Forum hosted by the Korea JoongAng Daily.
This year’s seventh annual forum featured Shin Je-yoon, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, as the keynote speaker on the direction of financial policies in the Park Geun-hye administration. Among the participants were Song Pil-ho, vice chairman of JoongAng Ilbo; Charles Lho, publisher of the Korea JoongAng Daily; Edmundo Fujita, Brazilian ambassador to Korea; Rolf Mafael, German ambassador to Korea; Jeong Sang-kee, vice chairman of Mirae Asset Global Investments; Peter Tan Hai Chuan, Singaporean ambassador to Korea; Amy Jackson, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (Amcham); and Yun Yong-ro, president and chief executive of the Korea Exchange Bank.
The forum kicked off with opening remarks from Lho, touching upon the financial and economic uncertainty Korea faces due to changing environment both at home and abroad. The publisher also introduced Shin as a “seasoned expert in financial policy making.”
After Shin spoke, he answered questions from attendees in English without needing any translation. It is considered rare for government officials, especially in the financial sector, to carry out a Q&A in English because they want to avoid misleading communication on sensitive issues.
“It was a very informative forum and the chief of the FSC gave a very clear picture of the ideas of the new government, which is a very ambitious but interesting plan,” said Mafael, the German ambassador. “For us diplomats, it was a very useful event.”
In particular, Mafael shared his views on Shin’s remarks about ways to boost small- and midsize businesses. Part of Shin’s speech dealt with improving the investment environment for promising start-ups, and a key part of Germany’s economic growth was the country’s focus on fostering SMEs.
“If there’s one piece of advice, it’s that it’s certainly worthwhile to be in close contact between Korean politics and German politics, between Korean associations like Kbiz [Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business] and German ones,” he said. “The Korean side can see which elements will be interesting or not for the Korean economy.”
After the event, Jackson, president of Amcham, said, “The forum provided a unique opportunity to understand the financial policies of President Park’s administration more in depth.”
“It also provided an insight into the government’s strong commitment to a creative economy, including in the financial services sector and in paving the way for Korean financial firms to go global.”
By Lee Eun-joo [email@example.com]