Ringing in the new year, I wish you and your families joy and happiness all through the year.
Last year, the whole nation witnessed really tough times. At home, we were faced with snowballing household debts and the worst ever domestic demand due to corporate restructuring. On the international front, major industries could go through what would amount to ‘an export crisis’ spawned by protectionism. Consequently, Koreans are suffering from a huge social and political setback at this moment.
We at FKI hereby deeply apologize for the great disappointment and the grave concern to the people created by the influence-peddling and corruption scandal which had allegedly been perpetrated by President Geun Hye Park and her civilian confidante Soon Sil Choi.
Now, we solemnly accept the voices of the people, while trying our best to reflect them in seeking ways for redefining and charting the future path of FKI at the earliest possible date. We will be working to reinvent the organization which best serves the interests of the national economy and ultimately be loved by the people.
Obviously, there are bumpy roads ahead this year. Uncertainty is looming large in export, among others. The Trump administration is poised to champion protectionism and China is expected to experience a business slump as a result of corporate debts and a reduction in an excessive supply.
At home, low levels of an income increase and consumer confidence could end up with a sluggish private spending in the new year. The construction industry, a traditional driving force of economic growth, is projected to go downhill this year. Much to our dismay, the economy is expected to grow merely by two percent in 2017 as it did over the last two years.
Times are especially hard for Korea. No doubt about it. Yet, at this time of peril, we all need to go back to basics. The business community will be committing itself to its duties by sharpening competitiveness to survive the cut-throat global business arena. At the same time, we will be doing the best we can to create quality jobs.
Last but not least, I would hope each member of our society, sharing a greater sense of oneness, will get out of this turmoil. I earnestly hope you will make the new year full of hope and vitality.
Happy new year!
FKI Chairman Chang Soo Huh