Mid-sized companies seek government support amid trade challenges

By Im Yoon-seo Posted : May 14, 2024, 15:44 Updated : May 15, 2024, 11:03
Minister Duk-geun Ahn of the Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy is shaking hands with Choi Jin-sik Chairman of the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea holding a document of policy suggestions for midsize enterprises Courtesy of FOMEK
Choi Jin-shik (right), chair of the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea (FOMEK), presents a document of policy suggestions to Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Ahn Duk-geun during a FOMEK CEO meeting in Seoul on May 13, 2024.   Courtesy of FOMEK

SEOUL, May 14 (AJU PRESS) -- The association of mid-sized companies in Korea has called for government support to enhance corporate competitiveness in light of the growing trade protectionism worldwide.

At a forum on Monday, Choi Jin-shik, chair of the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea (FOMEK), urged the government to ease the environmental and labor regulations and improve corporate taxes. 

“We should not overlook the reality that all countries including advanced countries like the United States are struggling to protect their industries and gain an edge in trade through various formal and informal trade barriers,” Choi said during the lunch meeting of CEOs hosted by the organization to hear a lecture by Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Ahn Duk-geun.

“We should dramatically improve the rigid legal and institutional environment including irrational regulations in all fields, such as the environment and labor, and excessive corporate taxes and inheritance and gift taxes,” he added. 

The business lobby representing nearly 5,500 mid-sized companies presented to the minister a set of policy recommendations including upgrading statistical systems, solving job shortages and promoting investment.

Ahn outlined the Yoon Suk Yeol administration's key industrial policies and promised the ministry would come up with a comprehensive plan in the first half of the year to better support the growth of midsize businesses.

On Tuesday, the federation announced the results of a survey showing that three out of 10 midsize companies are facing tougher funding conditions this year compared to last year.

In the survey of 339 of its members, just 8.6 percent responded their financial situation improved, while 28.6 percent said it worsened. The companies cited higher interest payment costs, sluggish sales and increased production costs as reasons for the deterioration.
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