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Finance minister visits LG to discuss economy, jobs

Conglomerate plans to spend W19T on new business next year
Dec 13,2017
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, left, and LG Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon shake hands during a meeting at LG Twin Tower in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Tuesday. [YONHAP]
Kim Dong-yeon, the minister of strategy and finance, met with Koo Bon-joon, vice chairman of LG Group, and other senior executives on Tuesday, a follow-up to a meeting in July during which President Moon Jae-in invited the leaders of the country’s largest businesses to the Blue House to discuss their role in the economy.

“The government emphasizes innovative growth as a part of its economic policy direction,” said Kim during the meeting at LG Twin Tower in Yeouido, western Seoul. “Innovative growth requires the participation of all economic players, public or private ... and conglomerates are an important part of the initiative, the reason behind the visit this time around.”

This was the first time that Kim, who also doubles as deputy prime minister for the economy, visited the office of a local conglomerate.

“The core objective of the economic policy direction for next year is creating jobs,” said Kim. “For this reason, [the government and] companies will put our heads together if there are any difficulties in making investment in new fields which lead to more jobs.”

In response to the government’s emphasis on quality jobs and investment into new fields, LG Group said it will commit as much as 19 trillion won ($17.5 billion) in 2018 into new businesses such as electric car parts and next-generation displays, hiring 10,000 new workers along the way.

The 19 trillion won investment is an 8 percent rise compared to this year. The research and development facility in LG Science Park in Magok, western Seoul, is also expected to create some 22,000 new jobs upon completion, according to the company.

Support for subcontractors and parts suppliers was also discussed at the meeting.

“To realize the mutual cooperation that was discussed during the presidential meeting, LG Group will provide a total of 858.1 billion won as loans to subcontractors,” said the finance ministry through a press release, adding that 186.2 billion won will be provided without any interest and the rest at low interest rates.

“LG would like to contribute to the country’s economic development and as a part of the commitment, [the group] will provide active support to LG’s subcontractors including Top Engineering and Dongyang Industrial, who are here today, so that they can gain global competitiveness,” Koo said.

The Finance Ministry said LG Display will expand the use of locally manufactured equipment, which was also mentioned during the presidential meeting in July.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]