Business titans chip in to reduce impact of MERS

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Business titans chip in to reduce impact of MERS

Korean business leaders have put their heads together to find a way to escape the dark shadow cast on the economy by the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). They agreed to carry out business activities as initially planned, regardless of the disease, and agreed to cooperate with the government more closely to attract foreign investments.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said Monday its Chairman Park Yong-maan, who is also the Doosan Group chief, met with about 20 KCCI members including Chung Yong-jin, vice chairman of Shinsegae Group, Lee In-won, vice chairman of Lotte Group’s policy headquarters, as well as Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul to discuss ways to overcome the so-called “MERS slump.”

Since the outbreak of MERS in late May, businesses in several sectors including tourism, food and entertainment industries have had a hard time attracting customers as the public avoided public outings.

The plans provided by the KCCI include increasing companies’ spending in the local economy and carrying out planned events for attracting investment and employment.

The Daejeon office of the KCCI said the region’s services sector experienced a hard time in attracting customers. Potential investors from China and the Middle East who were scheduled to come to Korea this month delayed their trips. The KCCI’s Busan office reported that the city’s tour business has been shrinking after the MERS outbreak and Incheon is experiencing a similar situation.

In order to deal with such situations, KCCI members agreed to do their best to boost the local economy, saying they will encourage people to take summer vacations in the country. They pledged to buy local specialties as gifts for business partners. They also agreed not to delay any of their business-related events, including foreign investment promotions, and to stick to the schedules for this year’s recruitment process to help the public get over any fears about MERS.

“We need to encourage businesses to boost their consumption in the local community,” said KCCI head Park.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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