Amcham anxious to pitch in

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Amcham anxious to pitch in

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Amcham Korea Chairman James Kim, country manager of Microsoft Korea, and President Amy Jackson meet the press yesterday. Provided by Amcham

James Kim, the new chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, has expressed interest in contributing to President Park Geun-hye’s creative economy initiative by assisting the private-public task force launched earlier this week.

“American companies have unique expertise in fostering innovation and creating an enabling environment for innovation, and we would be happy to continue to share these with Korea,” Kim said yesterday at a press conference hosted by Amcham at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul. Kim, country manager of Microsoft Korea, succeeded Pat Gaines, president of Boeing Korea.

In her press conference last week, Park announced she would assemble a “creative economy task force” of leaders from the public and private sectors.

“This new task force will lead the efforts in fostering creativity and innovation,” Kim said. “As the president rightly pointed out, this effort should be led primarily by the private sector, and Amcham and our members would be more than happy to contribute to this effort and provide any help we can.”

Amcham President Amy Jackson agreed that American companies have a lot to offer when it comes to innovation.

“We have expertise in how to bring new ideas to the market,” she said. “Entrepreneurship is the embodiment of what American companies do.”

Kim also spoke about the value of input from Korean companies.

“I think it’s important to know that Korean companies have been very innovative and through this task force, American companies and the United States can learn about innovation from Korea.”

A week after Park made her New Year’s address, she invited foreign business leaders including Kim and Jackson to a luncheon at the Blue House. There, the president promised to provide incentives for multinational foreign companies to establish headquarters and research and development centers in Korea.

“As President Park mentioned during last week’s luncheon, key factors that investors look for are predictability, transparency and fair application of the rules and regulations,” said Kim, “and Korea has made many strides in this area.”

The new Amcham chairman noted, however, that challenges remain.

“Korea should ensure that a strong system is in place that provides adequate rewards for innovation and protection of intellectual property rights,” he said. “This will create the necessary incentives for innovation and ensure that innovative companies can compete fairly and continue to invest in R&D without fearing IPR [intellectual property rights] infringement.”

As head of the U.S. business group, Kim also noted, “When new policies are introduced, they need to be carefully designed, allowing for feedback and input from all stakeholders in a transparent manner, before being implemented.”

Meanwhile, Kim is not only the first Korean-American chairman in the history of Amcham Korea, but also the first from the IT industry.

“Clearly, times have changed a lot,” he said. “Given that the words innovation and creative economy are so important, I believe that my background in IT can be very helpful as we work together in Korea-U.S. relations.”


BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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