President Moon turns to chaebol for job creation

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President Moon turns to chaebol for job creation

By Yoon Ja-young

Following President Moon Jae-in's first meeting with the head of the country's top chaebol in India, there are expectations that the administration may change its anti-conglomerate stance and acknowledge them as major job creators.

President Moon met Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong at the completion ceremony for its mobile phone factory in the northern Indian city of Noida, Monday, which is their first encounter since his inauguration. Lee was released from prison in February after almost a year of incarceration following a political corruption scandal involving ousted former President Park Geun-hye.

They also had a previously unscheduled five-minute personal meeting, where President Moon requested Lee create more jobs and make more investments in Korea. While appreciating the President's visit to the factory, Lee said he will make efforts to do so. The factory in Noida in which Samsung injected $650 million is expected to create 35,000 jobs.

"I think President Moon is changing his stance on businesses. Before his trip to India, he stressed communication with businesses in the meeting with his top aides. He also dismissed his economic advisers. The encounter with the Samsung vice chairman is on the same page with them," said Oh Jung-geun, a professor at Konkuk University.

He said the economic policy during the past year only made job figures dismal. "Though President Moon would not change the direction of the overall economic policy when considering politics, it seems he is aware there should be changes. This is significant enough," he said.

Job creation has been the biggest priority of the Moon administration which seeks to boost the economy by pulling up household income. The administration had been resorting to the public sector to add jobs, but the unemployment rate has been worsening while the low-income brackets are suffering falling income.

Unlike his predecessors, President Moon has been distancing himself from conglomerates amid the prevailing notion that the chaebol were accomplices to former President Park's corruption scandal. Analysts say the meeting with top chaebol is thus significant since a friendlier approach to conglomerates may be based on the realization that it is businesses that create most of the jobs.

"The meeting between President Moon and the Samsung heir is symbolic since it means the President is willing to listen to what businesses have to say," said an executive at a conglomerate.

Some, however, are pessimistic about changes.

"President Moon may be aware there should be changes since the economy is in bad shape, but it won't be enough with only himself changing. His advisers as well as the people around him should change for new economic policies, but it isn't likely that President Moon will pressure them hard," said Kang Sung-jin, a professor at Korea University.

Cheong Wa Dae also dismissed political interpretations of the encounter.

"It would be good to see a shift in policies, but it remains to be seen if there will be a visible transition," an official at a business lobby group said.

From early this year, however, President Moon has been expanding encounters with conglomerates, visiting a solar-cell factory of Hanwha Group and attending the opening ceremony of LG Science Park.


By Yoon Ja-young

Following President Moon Jae-in's first meeting with the head of the country's top chaebol in India, there are expectations that the administration may change its anti-conglomerate stance and acknowledge them as major job creators.

President Moon met Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong at the completion ceremony for its mobile phone factory in the northern Indian city of Noida, Monday, which is their first encounter since his inauguration. Lee was released from prison in February after almost a year of incarceration following a political corruption scandal involving ousted former President Park Geun-hye.

They also had a previously unscheduled five-minute personal meeting, where President Moon requested Lee create more jobs and make more investments in Korea. While appreciating the President's visit to the factory, Lee said he will make efforts to do so. The factory in Noida in which Samsung injected $650 million is expected to create 35,000 jobs.

"I think President Moon is changing his stance on businesses. Before his trip to India, he stressed communication with businesses in the meeting with his top aides. He also dismissed his economic advisers. The encounter with the Samsung vice chairman is on the same page with them," said Oh Jung-geun, a professor at Konkuk University.

He said the economic policy during the past year only made job figures dismal. "Though President Moon would not change the direction of the overall economic policy when considering politics, it seems he is aware there should be changes. This is significant enough," he said.

Job creation has been the biggest priority of the Moon administration which seeks to boost the economy by pulling up household income. The administration had been resorting to the public sector to add jobs, but the unemployment rate has been worsening while the low-income brackets are suffering falling income.

Unlike his predecessors, President Moon has been distancing himself from conglomerates amid the prevailing notion that the chaebol were accomplices to former President Park's corruption scandal. Analysts say the meeting with top chaebol is thus significant since a friendlier approach to conglomerates may be based on the realization that it is businesses that create most of the jobs.

"The meeting between President Moon and the Samsung heir is symbolic since it means the President is willing to listen to what businesses have to say," said an executive at a conglomerate.

Some, however, are pessimistic about changes.

"President Moon may be aware there should be changes since the economy is in bad shape, but it won't be enough with only himself changing. His advisers as well as the people around him should change for new economic policies, but it isn't likely that President Moon will pressure them hard," said Kang Sung-jin, a professor at Korea University.

Cheong Wa Dae also dismissed political interpretations of the encounter.

"It would be good to see a shift in policies, but it remains to be seen if there will be a visible transition," an official at a business lobby group said.

From early this year, however, President Moon has been expanding encounters with conglomerates, visiting a solar-cell factory of Hanwha Group and attending the opening ceremony of LG Science Park.


Yoon Ja-young yjy@koreatimes.co.kr
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