Ending anti-corporate policyPresident-elect Yoon Suk-yeol meets with corporate leaders today following a meeting last week with merchants at Namdaemun Market in central Seoul. After listening to small merchants and self-employed business owners, Yoon will hear from business leaders this time. We welcome his consecutive meetings with them to prepare to tackle tough economic challenges at home and abroad.
Following a lunch meeting last Monday with those merchants, Yoon is to share lunchboxes with heads of the six major business lobbying groups at the office of his transition committee. We hope the meeting signals a dramatic turnaround from the Moon Jae-in administration’s diehard anti-corporate stance. As a result of his relentless push for chaebol reforms and so-called “income-led” growth policies, the economy became an object for the liberal administration’s dangerous policy experiments, and resulted in a widening wealth gap, a sharp increase in non-salaried workers and skyrocketing real estate prices during the past five years under Moon’s reign. Nevertheless, the outgoing president continues patting himself on the back for a “remarkable improvement in employment.”
Moon’s anti-corporate policy dealt a heavy blow to the economy. As militant labor unions gained force, Korea has become a country hard to do business in. Due to drastic spikes in regulations, foreigners’ investment in Korea stood at a mere $70 billion while Korean companies invested a whopping $260 billion in foreign countries. As quality jobs migrated overseas, our young generation suffered.
We hope today’s meeting heralds a shift from those anti-market experiments. The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) has been invited to the meeting for the first time since 2017, when the Moon administration launched. Five other business groups, including the Korea Enterprises Federation (KEF) and the Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ), have given their own opinions on government policies.
Korea does not have world-class companies aside from Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor. If a government maintains hostile relations with corporations, we cannot expect a healthy economic habitat. As start-ups also need help, both sides must cooperate to establish a more efficient ecosystem. In the age of borderless trade, we need more large companies to create decent jobs.
You cannot ignore the roles of big companies in economic cooperation with other countries. To normalize relations with Japan, for instance, the FKI can contribute greatly. What benefit is there if a president refuses to bring a representative of FKI with him on his overseas trip? We hope Yoon creates a business-friendly environment when he takes office in May.