A good startPresident Moon Jae-in had business leaders over to the Blue House for the first time since he was sworn into office in May. The event was unconventional in every way — hosting meetings in two groups for more closeness and in a casual setting without a strict dress code or pre-scripted set of questions. The president posed as the best possible host, asking each of them about their primary concerns in their business fields and paying full attention to what they said.
In his toast, he emphasized that business should run well in order for the economy to run well.
In such a relaxed atmosphere, businessmen became more honest and complained of the realistic problems of converting irregular positions to permanent ones to meet government wishes and multiple layers of state regulations that get in the way of new businesses.
However, they did not bring up the sensitive issues of repercussions from raising the corporate tax rate and minimum wage, which could have ruined the amicable mood.
The president set a new example in relating with the business community. Moon’s predecessor, Park Geun-hye, publicly invited business leaders three times during the four years she was in office.
But investigations since her impeachment showed that she called in conglomerate business leaders discreetly many times. The photo of the president drinking beer with business leaders was a symbolic departure from the old ways of the ruling power creating relationships with the business sector.
The government needs the business sector’s cooperation for its economic agenda to boost hiring. It must work on the goal based on its vows in order to be transparent and to be seen as a competent government. The business sector also should sincerely come up with lasting measures to contribute to the economy and society instead of actions that are only for show and intended merely to win favor with the new president.
Companies should incorporate the interests of subcontractors, employees and consumers. They must remember that their biggest asset is support from them, not from the ruling political power.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 29, Page 26