Ambassadors welcome Choi’s frank remarks

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Ambassadors welcome Choi’s frank remarks


From top clockwise: FSC Chairman Choi Jong-ku addresses the audience during the Korea Economic Forum held at the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul, Wednesday. EU Ambassador Michael Reiterer asks a question on cryptocurrency during the Q&A session. FSC Chairman Choi, right, talks with Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine at the forum. [PARK SANG-MOON]

The dignitaries and business leaders that attended the Korea Economic Forum on Wednesday at the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul were keen to learn more about the current developments in the Korean economy and changes to financial regulations as well as the potential economic impact of improved relations with North Korea.

The annual economic forum, hosted by the Korea JoongAng Daily, is the only event of its kind that offers the diplomatic community in Seoul a communication window to interact with top government officials and leading Korean financial companies.

Financial Services Commission Chairman Choi Jong-ku discussed the financial regulator’s goal in driving innovative growth and answered a wide range of questions dealing with issues including the impact of the improving relationship with North Korea on the Korean economy, regulation flexibility, uncertainty in the global economy and cryptocurrency.

“The reason I came today is because there has been increased interest on North Korea,” said Michael Reiterer, EU ambassador to Seoul. “I think it was very useful to get to know the important domestic development.”

Reiterer said the fact that every table was full despite the early start was a good indicator of the heightened interest in the current developments.

Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos, the Bolivian Embassy’s charge d’affaires, agreed.

“The Latin diplomatic community will be meeting this Friday, which shows the heightened interest regarding North Korea,” Ossio Bustillos said, adding that he was positive that the thawing relationship will have a positive impact on the Korean economy. “The [South] Korean market has reached its maximum and needs to find a new market, and North Korea could be that opportunity.”

But North Korea wasn’t the only topic of discussion among the diplomatic community. Christoph Heider, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, expressed interest in the regulations related to the fourth industrial revolution that Choi discussed during his speech.

Heider echoed Choi’s sentiment that discussing regulations is difficult as the fourth industrial revolution changes is unchartered territory.

He said he is particular interested to see what direction Korea takes as it is currently the 11th biggest economy in the world and has the potential to become at least the 11th most innovative in the financial service industry.

“We have to be very careful with rules and regulations related to financial innovation,” said Heider.

Reiterer, who also asked a question on cryptocurrency, said the FSC chairman gave a good overview of planned regulations.

“I asked about cryptocurrency [because it is] an important development,” Reiterer. “I think it was a well-presented and rounded overview, whose issues have greatly become very technical.”

James Kim, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in Korea, said the forum was a good opportunity to interact with the FSC chairman and the foreign diplomatic community, the Korean business community and the financial sector.

“I extend my gratitude especially to the Korea JoongAng Daily, who provided this special opportunity to learn more about the evolution of the economy amid various changes occurring worldwide,” Kim said. “I was inspired by Chairman Choi’s initiative to foster start-ups and SMEs and prepare for the fourth industrial revolution, which are in alignment with many of Amcham’s top priorities.”

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