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quarterly report
ECCK Quarterly Report Q3 / 2021
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As the 20th presidential election is slated for March 2022, South Korea is gearing up for the race. The presidential hopefuls across the political spectrum have officially thrown their hat into the ring for the election. The main presidential contenders who officially announced their intention to run in the upcoming election include former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, former Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung, and former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl. Lee Nak-yon was confirmed by his party as the candidate and for the main opposition party the final nomination is expected to be done on November 5, 2021. The election is scheduled to be held on March 9, 2022.
In the beginning of October, President Moon Jae-in has announced the government plans to raise its emissions-reduction goal from 26.3% to 40% by 2030 in line with its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. An additional reduction of 100 million tons is expected from Korea's existing plan in regards of the increased target. Furthermore, the government will announce the new goal as the country's nationally determined contribution (NDC) during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) scheduled for between October 31 and November 12 in the UK.
Crowded street of Seoul we wish to see once again with the 'Living with COVID-19'
As of middle of October, Korea has achieved its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people, preparing the kick off of ‘living with COVID-19,’ a new scheme of returning to normal life on November 1, 2021. The government will ease most of its restrictions, such as night-time curfews on cafes, restaurants and other multi-use facilities.
Despite robust exports, Korea’s Gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate slowed down in the third quarter due to subdued private consumption and weak construction and facility investment. According to the Bank of Korea’s date released on October 26, Korea’s GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in the third quarter. It records the slowest in five quarters and following a 0.8% rise in the preceding three months.
ECCK Joins European Business Community Roundtable with MOTIE
In August, Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo has been nominated as the new Trade Minister, replacing Yoo Myung-hee. On September 28, ECCK participated in the Roundtable Meeting with newly appointed Trade Minister Yeo at Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). The meeting was held to discuss possibilities to strengthen the cooperation between MOTIE and European companies in Korea. Also, the ECCK has been suggesting to reinstate the FIAC (Foreign Investment Advisory Council) and Trade Minister Yeo announced to form the FIAC to establish a regular channel with the foreign investment community.
President Moon has newly named financial regulators as well. In August, Koh Seungbeom took office as Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). Also, Jeong Eun Bo was appointed by the President with the recommendation of the Chairman of the Financial Services Commission as the 14th Governor of the Financial Supervisory Service.
<Table 1> Trade in Goods between Europe (EUR) & Korea (KOR)
In Q1-3/2021, exports from the EU to Korea increased by 23% to USD 48.7 billion (compared to USD 39.7 billion in Q1-3/2020). Exports from the UK to Korea increased by 32% and exports from the EFTA to Korea increased by 50%. While exports from Korea to the EU and UK increased by 43% and 39% respectively, exports to EFTA decreased a combined 23% to 1.3 billion.
<Table 2> Q1-3/2021 - Foreign Direct Investment (Arrived) in Korea
European Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Korea in Q1-3/2021 increased by 152.3% compared to Q1-3/2020, representing 45.8% of the total foreign direct investment. German FDI accounted for 18%, Singaporean FDI for 13 %, and American FDI for 11%. German was the largest European investor in Korea during this period with a total of USD 2.2 billion in arrived direct investments; the second and third largest European investors were Malta and Ireland with USD 1 billion and USD 914 million in arrived direct investments, respectively.
Chemicals Committee
The ECCK had a meeting with the Korea Custom Service in cooperation with the Amcham to discuss the issue regarding process of and delated import clearance for chemical products. Also, at the 1st public hearing of Chemical Safety Policy Forum, the ECCK presented 3 points in perspective of K-REACH, Chemical Control Act and K-BPR as a key industrial stakeholder, which recommend to re-examine the classification criteria for toxic substances, differentiate the chemical management upon its properties, and deregulate the labelling of toxic substances from consumer chemical products.
Cosmetics Committee
ECCK joined a meeting organized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to follow-up of “Regulatory challenge” initiative run by The Office for Government Policy Coordination, Prime Minister Secretariat (OPC). ISO index claims for natural/organic cosmetics was positively discussed and the details were further discussed in the MFDS consultative body for natural/organic cosmetics including ECCK.
Fashion & Retail
In July, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) announced a proposed amendment of the current 'Safety Standard on Textile Products'. ECCK held a committee meeting in order to discuss the impact of such amendment and as a result, we submitted an official letter to the KATS in September 15.
Intellectual Property Rights
In August, some of our members noticed that several Korean media outlets released articles and aired broadcasts on the theme of 'Luxury Reform'. Concerned that luxury reform can constitute trademark infringement, ECCK decided to submit an official letter and legal opinion letter to the media under the name of ECCK IPR Committee, asking them to be aware that reform could cause legal problems. As a result, we received feedbacks from two media that they recognized possible legal problems and will be careful when dealing with related topics in the future.
  • July 1: Meeting with National Assembly Member Hong Jungmin
  • July 1: Meeting with National Assembly Member Kang Sunwoo
  • July 6: ECCK Business Round Table with Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans
  • July 6: Meeting with Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) on cooperation with ECCK
  • July 8: Meeting with Gyeongsangbuk-do Governor Lee Cheol Woo
  • July 8: Meeting with National Assembly Member Jang Chulmin
  • July 16: Meeting with Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon
  • July 20: Meeting with MOTIE Director General Park Jungwook
  • August 6: Meeting with KOTRA Ombudsman Director General Jeong Young Su
  • August 18: Meeting with Ombudsman Kim Sung Jin
  • August 19: Meeting with MOTIE Europe Division Director Seo Sung-tae
  • August 19: Meeting with MOTIE Investment Policy Division Director Kang Jang-jin
  • September 8: Courtesy visit to KITA Chairman Koo Ja-yeol
  • September 10: ECCK (virtual) Meeting with KFTC Chairperson Joh Sung-wook
  • September 28: Roundtable Meeting with New Trade Minister YEO Han-koo
  • September 29: Breakfast meeting with former Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha
  • October 7: Meeting with MOTIE Investment Policy Division Director Choi Yeong-soo
  • October 26: OPC (Office of Government Policy Coordination) ‘Regulatory Challenge’ follow-up meeting
October, 2021

About ECCK
The European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) is the pre-eminent association of European companies conducting business in or related to Korea. Representing the common voice of the European business community in Korea, the ECCK aims to function as the platform for information exchange, effective communication channel to the Korean authorities and convener of networking opportunities for European businesses. The ECCK is a non-profit and non-political organization. ( Disclaimer The information and opinions in this report were prepared by ECCK. The information herein is believed by ECCK to be reliable and has been obtained from public sources believed to be reliable. ECCK makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such information. Opinions, estimates and projections in this report constitute the current judgement of the cited sources and/or the author as of the date of this report. They are subject to change without notice and ECCK has no obligation to update, modify or amend this report or to otherwise notify a reader thereof in the event that any matter stated herein, or any opinion, projection, forecast or estimate set forth herein, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate. This report is provided for informational purposes only and ECCK does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising from the use of this document or its contents.
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