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It’s all up to the Blue House

July 28,2017
President Moon Jae-in meets with business leaders for two days until Friday. Their meetings are focused on jobs and ways to balance growth among big and smaller enterprises in line with the economic philosophy of the liberal government.

The Blue House has taken great care to ensure that the meeting will lead to unrestricted and honest discussions. Business leaders are coming to meet with the president without a script in hand for the first time. Officials dealing with government affairs and social responsibility at large conglomerates had to to come up with ideas and procure gifts for their bosses to take to their first meeting with the new president.

The five-year agenda and economic policy outline clearly spells out the new government’s direction and goals for the economy. Moon intentionally included Ottogi Corp., a mid-sized food maker whose owner has been honest in tax payment and generous to employees, as an exemplary case for other businesses to follow. To emulate the company, several large organizations have been announcing benefit and profit-sharing measures for their smaller partner companies this week.

Unlike U.S. entrepreneurs, Korean chaebol chiefs or executives do not speak out. Their comments are usually relayed by press officers and official statements. By habit, they remain humble before political power.

In order not to waste the meeting, the president and his crew must sincerely pay attention to the entrepreneurs’ views on sensitive issues like corporate tax hikes and changing the status of irregular workers to become a part of a permanent workforce. Top-down and one-sided decision-making is not dialogue. We want to see the president taking part in heated talks with business leaders and not just in the ceremonial group photo.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 27, Page 30