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FKI to host business events on Yoon’s state visit to U.S.

FKI to host business events on Yoon’s state visit to U.S.

Posted March. 30, 2023 08:12,   

Updated March. 30, 2023 08:12


The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) has confirmed that it will organize business events during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to the United States, which is scheduled for the end of April, and has begun preparations. The eyes are on the background leading up to the FKI's designation to be in charge of both the presidential visit to Japan and the business event during the state visit to the U.S.

According to sources in the business circle on Wednesday, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) was initially expected to be in charge of organizing business events during the president’s state visit to the U.S., and the KCCI started preparations for the event. However, that decision was reportedly reversed to have the FKI be responsible instead.

It was the FKI’s Acting Chairman Kim Byung-joon who played a key role in the change of the organizer. Kim reportedly said that Korea-U.S. and Korea-Japan cooperation have traditionally been coordinated by the FKI, and strongly demanded the government and the Presidential Office that the FKI be designated as the organizer of the event in the state visit to the U.S. for the sake of facilitating the normalization of the FKI in the months and years to come. Ensuring that the FKI be in charge of organizing business events with the U.S. and Japan, thereby enabling the return of the four major businesses to the FKI’s member companies, had also been a key agenda during the appointment process of Acting Chairman Kim.

In the past, the FKI, as a representative business advocacy organization in Korea, has organized visits to major countries, such as the U.S. and Japan. It has organized Korea-U.S. Business Council with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) and the Korea-Japan Business Council with the Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN), playing as the counterpart of the business advocacy groups of major countries.

However, since the state-run corruption scandal in 2018, the FKI has been continuously excluded from major government events. Under the Moon Jae-in administration and until President Biden’s visit to Korea in May 2022, business-to-business exchanges were organized by the KCCI. It was reported that there was a fierce rivalry between the FKI and the KCCI over which one gets to be the organizer of a business event during President Biden’s visit, and the KCCI became the winner of that competition.

It is expected that the FKI will coordinate the schedules of local business roundtables and industrial site visits during President Yoon’s visit to the U.S. There will be an event inviting business leaders of major corporations and another event inviting leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises.

The business world predicts that the FKI’s takeover of the role as an organizer will prompt the return of four major business groups to the FKI. A source in the business circle said: “At an event held during the president’s visit to Japan, the heads of major corporations attended the event with the idea that it was a presidential event, not because it was organized by the FKI. Even if the FKI gradually regains its role as a bridge between business groups and the government, it is still insufficient as the cause for the return of the four major business groups compared to the political burden that will ensue.”

Do-Young Kwak now@donga.com