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Doesn’t the FKI Speak for the Business Circle?

Posted April. 29, 2005 23:33,   


“What does the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) do these days?”

Complaints have been rapidly increasing from business circles that the FKI has not voiced its own opinion.

With four months into the second term of Kang Shin-ho, chairman of the FKI, business circles say that it is hard to give good marks for the FKI.

An executive of the restructuring department of A Group said, “It seems that the FKI has played a wait-and-see game and spared itself against the government,” pointing out, “Since the FKI has not spoken a voice for the business world, it seems to have not frequently appeared in the media.”

An executive of B Group said, “After a case in which the government made Jwa Sung-hee, former chief of the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) who had criticized the anti-market policies planned by the government, step down from his post, the FKI, accepting the case as a ‘signal,’ decided to hold back its opinion.”

Moreover, recently, large corporations have not been of interest to the FKI.

A golf meeting to be held at the Chuncheon Country Club on May 7, in the form of invitation of Park Yong-oh, chairman of the Doosan Group, seems to be unsubstantial.

This is because it is automatically expected that most chairmen of major companies would attend, but all chairmen of the “Big Four Groups:” Lee Kun-hee, chairman of the Samsung Group, Chung Mong-koo, chairman of Hyundai and Kia Motors, Koo Bon-moo, chairman of the LG Group, and Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Corporation, have notified the FKI of their absence.

In addition, there remains a vacancy for the position of chairman of the committee for corporation policy that is scheduled to be set up newly, which is due to the fact that chairmen of companies have been reluctant to be appointed to this post.

A high-ranking official of the FKI said, “There are a lot of opinions even in the business circle that it is not desirable that the FKI unconditionally criticizes the government’s policies.” He added, “The FKI’s scout for figures from the government is a strategy in order to convey the business circle’s view to the government.”

The FKI’s recent situation is contrary to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). The KCCI, led by Chairman Park Yong-sung, widely known as “Mr. Right Word,” has held the limelight by actively expressing its view in place of the business circle.

After gathering the business circle’s opinions over approximately 20 bills, including a bill on non-regular jobs that has been recently impending at the National Assembly, the KCCI delivered them to the government. The KCCI also took the lead in order to jointly propose a project on regulation reform in the name of five major economic associations.

Furthermore, the KCCI stated its opinion over pending problems such as its criticism for the major national projects, concerns about the excessive intervention of the market by the government, and the matter of adjusting national holidays.

The KCCI also has continuously arranged lectures by inviting Han Duck-soo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Kang Chul-gyu, chairman of the Fair Trade Commission, Kim Dae-hwan, Minister of Labor, Li Bin, Chinese Ambassador to South Korea, Clara Gaymard, President of the Invest in France Agency, and Jeffrey Jones, former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com