The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) announced that the organization held a meeting with Everett Eissenstat, vice chairman of US National Economic Commission (NEC), a key figure in the White House at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Seoul in the morning of November 8.
The meeting was prepared at the behest of Korean companies to tell Eissenstat about difficulties that Korean companies face in their large-scale investments in the United States, in line with President Trump's visit. The meeting was held behind closed doors form for about an hour from 7:15 am. Major Korean companies including Korea’s four largest groups – the Samsung, Hyundai and Kia, SK and LG Groups – requested Eissenstat and the US side for cooperation such as tax breaks for investments. In addition, the four major groups reportedly requested investment incentives such as tax cuts when investing in the United States.
According to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), 60 member companies will invest in and purchase products from the US market by 2021 over the next five years. Their investment and purchase volume will run to a total of US$74.8 billion. This figure is double the investment and purchase figure of US$35.2 billion which the South Korean economic delegation consisting of the representatives of 52 companies promised when the delegation accompanied South Korean President Moon during his visit to the US for a summit with US President Donald Trump at the end of June. In particular, Samsung Electronics will invest about US$380 million in South Carolina in the United States to build factory facilities and start to put them into operation in 2018. LG Electronics is also building a US$250 million washing machine factory in Tennessee of the US.
Analysts say that the fact that the South Korean business world doubled the volume of investment and purchases over a few months is a strategic decision to respond to the US government's trade policies and target local US markets at the same time. Some say that such a move by the South Korean business world will serve as a buffer to reduce the US’s trade pressure on South Korea. The move was also made after the South Korean business world considered competitors including Japan in the US market.
"We asked US government officials for cooperation so that cooperation between the two countries which are also economic allies will be maximized and Korean companies will smoothly invest in the US as the US government is mounting trade pressure on South Korea in overall export sectors including steel, washing machines and semiconductors among others.
At the meeting, Korean business world officials told the US government, "If large-scale investment and purchases planned by Korea's major corporations are done, the trade imbalance between the two countries will be gradually addressed."
"The Trump Administration’s economic policies will boost the growth potential of the United States, providing more opportunities for foreign investors," the US government side said. “We will actively support Korean companies so that they can make investment in the US without difficulties in the future.”