Amy Jackson is currently president of The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM Korea). She previously worked in the Office of the US Trade Representative and negotiated space deals with Japan while at NASA. Ms. Jackson was the sixth interviewee in our Korea Business Interview Series hosted at KoreaBusinessCentral.com.
To listen to the interview or download the .mp3, read the transcript and discuss her interview with members of Korea Business Central, visit the following discussion link: https://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/forum/topics/korea-business-central-5.
(The full list of interviews in the Korea Business Interview Series is kept here: https://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/page/interviews-2)
Main points of the Interview:
Topic #1 – About AMCHAM Korea – Overview
- AMCHAM Korea has approximately 2,000 individual members and 1,000 corporate members.
- The Chamber works to promote and facilitate US/Korea trade.
- The Chamber has moved away from a “table pounding” approach to become a more “partner-focused organization”.
- AMCHAM Korea was also instrumental in getting Korea on the US Visa Waiver Program.
- Another achievement is the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which AMCHAM Korea was one of the key promoters of.
- The US-Korea FTA builds on the close political and military cooperation between Korea and the US, to put economic cooperation as a third pillar in the relationship.
- The US-Korea FTA addresses not only tariff reduction, but also investor rights, regulatory transparency.
- Hopefully the US Congress will take up passage of the US-Korea FTA shortly after the November elections in the US.
- AMCHAM Korea sends a delegation about three times per year to Washington to promote the interests of the membership with US government policymakers.
- It is necessary to ensure that Korean policies regarding “green” business do not have ill-intentioned consequences. AMCHAM Korea is working on this, as well as on forging relationships for US pharmaceutical companies in Korea.
Topic #2 – About AMCHAM Korea Members
- AMCHAM Korea is not only for American companies. Membership is encouraged for anyone involved in US-Korea trade.
- Membership runs the gamut of very large companies, manufacturing companies, small companies, service providers and individuals.
- In addition to the issue advocacy role, AMCHAM Korea provides an excellent opportunity to network.
- There are about 30 active committees in the Chamber broken down by sector and theme. Committee meetings often invite speakers to discuss timely and pertinent issues.
- The new Small-Medium Enterprise Committee is working to appeal to a smaller company audience.
- Korean policymakers often attend and speak at AMCHAM Korea events, which is another way that dialogue is facilitated.
Topic #3 – About the Business Climate in Korea
- One of the most striking things about Korea is the ability of the country to change quickly. Thus, Korea is becoming a better place for foreign companies to do business.
- The Korean government is reaching out to the foreign community in order to achieve more regulatory transparency.
- Korea is rapidly rising in stature on the international stage through events like hosting the G-20, success in the Olympics and hosting of the next Nuclear Summit.
- Korea is a dynamic economy in ways that many other Asian countries are not, and Korean companies are adept at responding quickly to changes in the business environment.
- Top issues of doing business in Korea include bureaucracy, non-tariff barriers and labor unrest.
- AMCHAM Korea is involved in the Korean Government’s Presidential Council on National Competitiveness, which has been an effective way to present ideas to the Korean government, especially since President Lee Myung-Bak is personally involved in the Council.