Korean companies more bullish about business in China

Chey Tae-won, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and SK Group, left and also seen on screen, speaks while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, third from left, President Yoon Suk Yeol, fourth from left, and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, fifth from left, sit and listen during a business summit at the KCCI building in Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

A meeting between Korean business leaders and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who visited Seoul for a trilateral summit with President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, signaled a thawing in economic relations between Seoul and Beijing, according to industry officials and economic experts, Monday. This improvement in bilateral ties is expected to benefit Korean firms doing business in China.Based on the outlook, entrepreneurs here also vowed to continue playing their roles to improve Korea’s economic and diplomatic ties with China, as well as with Japan.Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who has continuously emphasized the importance of relations with China, proposed the launch of a joint platform to boost cooperation between Korea, China and Japan in the private sector.“We the three countries are geopolitically and economically interconnected neighbors that have shared history and culture for a long time,” he said during the first business summit between the three countries’ businesspeople in four years and five months. “If we put our heads together and join forces, we will be able to overcome difficult international affairs.”The three countries’ political leaders also attended the event after announcing a joint declaration adopted during their summit.“Based on mutual respect and trust, the government and companies of the three countries should invigorate trade and investments within the region,” the Korean president said in his keynote speech.

A day earlier, Li met with Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and the conglomerate’s senior executives.During the meeting, the Chinese premier said that economic and trade cooperation is the “ballast stone” for relations between China and Korea. He also said that China welcomes investments from Samsung and other Korean companies.His remarks came after Yoon and Li agreed to promote bilateral trade and economic partnerships by resuming the second phase of their free trade agreement negotiations. The Chinese premier also met with the heads of major Korean conglomerates during a welcoming banquet on Sunday.Yang Pyeong-seob, a visiting research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy’s China team, regarded Li’s visit to Korea as a turning point in both countries’ economic relations, which have worsened over the past few years.“Through his meeting with Samsung executives, Li implied that China puts emphasis on relations with Korean companies,” he said. “The Korean government also changed the market perception that Korea is staying away from China.”As Li’s visit brought optimism about a potential lifting of China’s regulations on Korean cultural content, stock prices of entertainment agencies soared during Monday’s trading session. SM’s stock price, for example, jumped nearly 9 percent to over 100,000 won ($73) from 91,000 won on Monday morning, although it went down in the afternoon.“It has been difficult for Korea, Japan and China to pursue practical economic cooperation, due to various factors including the COVID-19 pandemic,” KCCI Executive Vice Chairman Park Il-joon said. “The formation of a working-level council between the three countries’ business lobbies will enable us to discuss 스포츠토토존 more practical ways of economic cooperation.”

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