AKBC E-newsletter July Edition

Dear AKBC members,

New South Wales Premier Dom Perrottet has thrown his support behind the 43rd annual Joint Meeting between the AKBC and the Korea-Australia Business Council (KABC), announcing the NSW Government as its major sponsor. Taking place in Sydney on the 29th and 30th of November, this is the premier event on the Australia-Korea trade and investment calendar and is widely regarded as a must-attend occasion by senior executives working in the Australia-Korea space.

Perrottet pledged his government’s support during his recent visit to Seoul, where he met face-to-face with KABC Chairman Mr Jeong-Woo Choi and reaffirmed the significance of the green energy and critical mineral sectors to the Australian-Korean bilateral relationship.

“We know Korean businesses are looking to establish supply chains for green hydrogen and critical minerals, and through our long-standing and strong relationship with the AKBC and KABC and as the host and major sponsor of the high-profile event, we are ensuring NSW is positioned as the gateway for foreign direct investment into Australia.”

We understand that other Australian Premiers and senior government figures have plans to visit Korea in the near future, signalling a return to normal diplomatic activities as travel restrictions around the world continue to ease. Following the success of our recent 2022 delegation to Korea, we are particularly excited at the prospect of increased travel and will maintain working steadily with our members to place them amongst delegations where appropriate. To all our members interested in visiting Korea at some stage, we recommend checking out our pre-departure cultural training courses to ensure a smooth transition that enables you getting the most out of your Korea experience.

Unfortunately, the return of Korean travel does not indicate the end of Korean COVID. Data released by the Korean Business Forum suggests they have entered a sixth wave of the pandemic, with daily infections jumping above 100,000 for the first time in three months. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has warned infections could leap as high as 200,000 per day by late August, yet there have been no plans to reinstate COVID-related mandates moving forward.

Korea’s COVID concerns however continue to be overshadowed by their tumultuous economic situation. With sluggish growth and rapid inflation gripping the Korean economy, newly elected President Yoon Suk-youl made his first major policy initiative in July, launching a comprehensive tax reform that will deliver approximately $10 billion USD in tax savings over the next five years. Proposed revisions include cutting the maximum corporate tax rate to 22% from the current 25% and lowering the threshold for income taxes to put more salaried workers in the lower income tax bracket of 15%.

Yoon is attempting to stimulate private-sector led economic growth, signalling a return to business-driven policies from the Korean government after five years of pro-working class ideology from his predecessor. As the Opposition dismisses this proposal as a tax break for the rich, Yoon now faces the tough task of navigating the Democratic Party majority in the National Assembly to see these reforms passed. Change is needed fast, with the Won rapidly approaching it lowest value of the 21st century outside of the GFC.

Turning our sights back to Australia, we are excited to announce the Australia-Korea New Energy Forum will take place in Melbourne on the 19th of August. Brought to you in collaboration with the Korean Embassy in Canberra, this event brings together key industry and government representatives from Australia and Korea to discuss how business communities are approaching the new energy sector as the world focuses on transitioning to a decarbonised future. With Australia favourably poised as a preferred export partner to fuel Korea’s energy transition, we know this event will be of particular interest to our members in the energy and critical mineral sectors. More information can be found here.

In AKBC housekeeping news, this will be my final e-newsletter before I depart for maternity leave. Thank you for all the support and well wishes I have received over the last few months – I look forward to seeing you all again in December 2023.

Finally, a massive thank you and farewell to Mark Rigotti, who has stepped down as a Director of the Board to take up the position of CEO at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. We are extremely grateful for his contributions over the years and we wish him the very best of luck for the future.

Yours sincerely,

Liz Griffin

Executive Director Australia-Korea Business Council

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Australia Korea Business Council
PO Box 24430
Melbourne, Vic 3001 Australia
Liz Griffin – Executive Director

The Australia-Korea Business Council is the leading national body committed to strengthening the Australia-Korea economic relationship.