South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday urged the country’s corporate community to go ahead with investments as planned, calling on business leaders to work with the government to minimise the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the country’s largest conglomerates and business associations at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Moon said the outbreak was holding back Korea’s economic recovery but the situation would end soon – at least in South Korea.
Chairs and vice-chairs of the five largest conglomerates – Hyundai Motor Group, LG Group, Lotte Group, Samsung and SK – and CJ Group chief Lee Jay-hyun attended the meeting, along with heads of business associations including the KCCI.
“Employment indexes have improved more than hoped for, and the positive feedback of founding businesses and job creation has become clear. Covid-19 holding back the economy in such a situation is very regrettable,” Moon said, adding that local firms’ innovation and investments are leading to economic recovery.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) is the official name given to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus which was first isolated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
“Factors such as inflow from overseas remain, but quarantine management appears to be entering a stable phase. As the quarantine authorities are doing their best, Covid-19 will end not too long from now.”
In an apparent bid to emphasise the importance of the corporate community’s role, Moon praised major conglomerates’ efforts to aid their suppliers.
He said Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group are offering aid worth trillions to suppliers.
“Bold investment for the future has been the stepping stone for reviving the economy and innovative growth in times of difficulty,” Moon said.
“I hope companies will trust the government, and go ahead with facilities investments planned before the Covid-19 situation,” Moon said, going on to list measures the government would roll out to support local companies.
At the meeting, KCCI chief Park Yong-maan praised the government’s rapid response to deal with the economic impact of the outbreak, but called for more to be done.
Saying that many small and medium-sized enterprises are struggling, Park urged the government to concentrate on aid to such companies and to step up efforts to work with the Chinese authorities to normalise operations in China.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK