On August 28, the Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KGCCI) held its Half-Year Economic Outlook 2018 at the Conrad Hotel in Seoul. Ms. Barbara Zollmann, President & CEO of KGCCI, welcomed around 100 guests to this bi-annual event which provides an insight and outlook on the economic development in Korea.
|KGCCI Economic Outlook 2018 – Part 1: Alexander Hirschle, Director Korea of Germany Trade & Invest|
The first part of the event was led by three distinguished speakers. Mr. Weert Börner, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy Seoul, accentuated the intensified German-Korean relations pointing out numerous exchanges on political and institutional levels and recommended a continued close bilateral cooperation to deal with global issues of mobility, energy, waste issues, as well as IP protection. Ms. Juliana Lee, Chief Economist of Deutsche Bank AG Hong Kong, explained that the fast-paced change of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a fundamental challenge which needs to be countered by flexibility and openness to support new industries. Not only education and training are critical in this process, but also the communication between policy makers and industries as regulations are often far behind the changing world order. The last speaker of the first part was Mr. Alexander Hirschle, Director Korea of Germany Trade & Invest, who prospected a Korean GDP growth rate of around 2.8% for 2019 adding that a slowdown of growth is natural for a maturing economy. Due to the skyrocketing demand and prices of semiconductors, exports of this sector grew by 43% in the first half of 2018 and remained the strongest pillar of the Korean exports. He said that this dramatic increase and reliance on the semiconductor sector however can result in a challenge when the boom decreases due to competition from China. He underlines that the important question is: “How fast can old core industries be replaced?” and points at new growth industries like energy, IoT, AI, autonomous driving etc.
|KGCCI Economic Outlook 2018 – Part 2: Panel Discussion on “Quo Vadis Korea?”|
The second part of KGCCI’s Half-Year Economic Outlook 2018 was a panel discussion on the topic “Quo Vadis Korea?” with Dr. Man Cho, Professor of KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Dr. Moo Young Jung, President of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Dr. Hee-Su Kim, Executive Vice President & Head of Economics and Management Research Institute at KT Corporation, and Ms. Julia Lee, who already presented her view on Korea’s economic position earlier in the first part of the event. All panelists agreed that Korea is in a phase of transition. Long-term fundamentals outweigh short-term dynamics. Therefore, slowing growth rates or unemployment bring challenges but not an immediate crisis. The difficulty rather lies in the search for new sectors which require a change in education fostering creativity, innovation and flexibility. The panelists from academia added that research needs to focus on self-sustainable original-technologies which can serve as growth engines in Korea. The panel discussion closed with the statement that Korea’s economy can overcome challenges by using the already existing excellent hardware paired with openness for new technologies which however requires a long-term investment in the education system for a collaborative and communicative mindset of the society.
|KGCCI Economic Outlook 2018: Speakers & Panelists: Dr. Hee-Su Kim (Executive Vice President & Head of Economics and Management Research Institute, KT Corporation), Ms. Juliana Lee (Chief Economist, Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong), Mr. Weert Börner, (Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy Seoul), Ms. Barbara Zollmann (President & CEO, Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Dr. Moo Young Jung (President of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology), Ms. Ingrid Drechsel (Chairman of KGCCI & President of Bayer Korea), Mr. Alexander Hirschle (Director Korea at Germany Trade and Invest), Dr. Man Cho (Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management) (from left to right)|
The Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KGCCI) has been promoting the economic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Korea since its foundation in 1981. With the steady rise in bilateral trade to over 27.3 bil. USD and German investments of more than 10 bil. USD in Korea, the activities of KGCCI and the demand for its professional services have increased accordingly. This is reflected by the growing membership of around 500 members and a full-time staff of 22 bilingual professionals.
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