ECCK President Christoph Heider interviewed with The Daily NNA about the Korean market and its business environment and European companies in Korea. The article was published in Japanese. Below is the translation of the interview. To read the Japanese article, please click on the following link: [The Daily NNA] ECCK President “The Korean Market is Attractive” The Daily NNA [Korea Edition] published on July 3, 2017 President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK), “The Korean Market is Attractive” Near distant country -. Japanese often describe Korea like this. Even neighboring countries, business practices are different if the country is different. There are not a few Japanese businessmen feeling embarrassed day by day doing business in Korea. How about European companies? Christoph Heider, President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK), while agreeing the difficulties European companies face when doing business in Korea, said that “even though there are difficulties, it is still a very attractive market”. – Explain about ECCK. With European companies forming the largest membership base of the organization, the ECCK has approximately 330 member companies. It deals primarily with trade issues and plays a role of connecting the Korean government and the European Commission. You can think of it as an organization similar to the Seoul Japan Club (SJC) made up of Japanese companies entering Seoul. Although it is often misunderstood, it is not a branch office of the European Union (EU). It is an organization in Korea and I work as a full-time staff. – South Korea has many regulations, the legal environment also changes easily. ECCK collects issues from its member companies and delivers the requests for improvement to the Korean government. Also, ECCK attends the government, advisory committee on the investment environment in Seoul city and Busan city, discussing problems and so on. This is the same as SJC. – What is Europe’s perception of Korea? First of all, the media exposure is pretty low. In Europe, the attractive business environment and opportunities that awaits in Korea are still not well known. In Europe’s media, most popular news will be about North Korea or its related political issues around the world, in other words, it is hardly reported about the usual Korea. – Recognition for Korean products. The gap between the reality and recognition still remains big. Even though the quality of the Korean products is of high quality, the perception of the Korean products in Europe still needs to be developed. In my opinion, I do not think there is a big difference between Korean car, German car, and French car these days. – What difficulties do you have in business in Korea that is not familiar like that? There are many European companies that have succeeded in Korea. South Korea is the biggest market in Asia for BMW. It exceeds Japan and China by unit sales. However, those concerned also mention the difficulties of doing business in Korea. For one thing, there are differences in business customs. In Europe, there is no culture of entertainment as seen in Korea. Furthermore, in Europe it is common to separate ownership and management, but in Korea there are many owner owners, mainly Cebol (zaibatsu). Criteria for corporate governance (corporate governance) and compliance (compliance with laws) are also different. There are not a few European companies seeing Korean companies as “in line with European standards”. – Still Korea is a demanded destination for European companies? From the perspective of Europe, Korea’s economic growth will surely appear attractive. If the growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is in the 2% range, it is a celebratory mood in Europe. The population is also 50 million. Compared with China and Japan, it is not as bad compared to major European countries. Korea has high technical capability which can be a valuable business partner to welcome the Industry Innovation Movement “Industry 4.0” which is said to be the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The role of ECCK is important in spreading the attractiveness of Korea more and more.