Korea Times, Seoul
EU Firms Have Strong Presence
10 December 2008
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea proudly presented the Korea -EU Industrial Cooperation Day on December 10, and the third edition of the EU-Korea Awards, which honor not just European companies, but government authorities who have made a significant contribution to strengthening the relationship between the EU and Korea. This landmark event, organized every year in December, represents an important milestone for the Chamber in its overall strategy of raising the profile of the EU business community.
The EU and Korea have always had strong business relations and despite current economic turmoil, EU investors remain committed to the country. As we had seen previously during the Asian financial crisis, while investors from other foreign countries fled Korea, only the EU investors had confidence and increased their investments.
Today, the EU remains the largest investor in Korea and is also one of its biggest trading partners. Currently, the EU-Korea FTA negotiations are proceeding at a satisfactory pace, and we should see some results very soon. As such, industrial cooperation on both sides is poised to strengthen even further.
The EUCCK commemorated this relationship by organizing Industrial Cooperation Day and presenting the EU-Korea Awards. The awards were presented in the presence of Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, VIPs from the government and distinguished members of the business community. The event was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s Grand Ball Room. According to Mr. Jean-Jacques Grauhar, secretary general of EUCCK, this landmark event, which is organized every year in December, represents an important milestone for the Chamber in the overall strategy of raising the profile of the EU business community in Korea.
"The EU and Korea have always had strong business relations and despite the current economic turmoil, EU investors remain committed to the country. As we had seen previous during the Asian financial crisis, while investors from other foreign countries fled Korea, only the EU investors had confidence and increased their investments. The EUCCK is commemorating this relationship by organizing the Industrial Cooperation Day," he said.
He pointed out that today, the EU remains one of the largest foreign investors in Korea and is also one of its biggest trading partners. Currently, EU-Korea FTA negotiations are also proceeding at a satisfactory pace, and results should be apparent very soon. As such, industrial cooperation between both sides is poised to strengthen even further. The event included a presentation by EU Ambassador to Korea Brian McDonald, followed by a keynote speech by the Prime Minister.
Many EU companies have also shown exemplary performances in their investment initiatives and social responsibility, contributing immensely to the closer relationship between the EU and Korea. In appreciation of their contributions, the EUCCK has initiated three categories of awards. This year, the following companies won awards:
Leading Investor ― The EUCCK appreciates the continuous large-scale investment made by Linde Korea Co. Ltd., which has not only increased the competitiveness of the industry, but also generated much employment in the country at a time when the economy has been performing below par.
The company is a member of The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company which operates in some100 countries and has more than 50,000 employees. In September 2006, Linde AG acquired The BOC Group in order to create The Linde Group. In an effort to create a consistent portfolio of brands, BOC Gases Korea rebranded to Linde Korea in July 2008.
Since its establishment in 1989, Linde Korea has become one of South Korea’s largest suppliers of gases. As part of a leading global organization, Linde Korea leverages on the latest technology and global expertise in business practices and day-to-day operations to deliver reliable and cost-efficient products and integrated solutions to its customers in the country.
Investments in 2007/08 for the fluorine business were made in Inju, Incheon and Gumi to the tune of approximately $ 20 million. For Linde’s investments in Korea, 4 MOUs have been signed with Gyeonggi and Chungnam Governments for total investments of $ 390 million. Its investments have created 40 new jobs and will bring more employment opportunities to the local economy as future investment plans are carried out. Fluorine investment alone will generate production, wages, taxes and company income worth about $ 200 million over the next 10 years. Linde’s advanced technology and know-how will be transferred and help local entities improve cost efficiency and product quality. Its high standards on safety and environment protection will also be adapted to local companies.
Social Benefactor ― The EUCCK appreciates the continuous efforts made by Samsung Tesco Homeplus Korea in its social contributions. The company has demonstrated a clearly defined, measurable, long-term plan of social responsibility.
Homeplus was established in May 1999 as a joint venture between Samsung Corporation and the largest British retailing Group, Tesco PLC. The company is the second largest hypermarket operator in Korea and presently operates 113 hypermarkets and 100 super express stores nationwide under the brand name ’’Homeplus.’’ It has over 20,000 employees.
The company’s corporate social responsibility is integrated within business operation and is regarded as a key factor in the company’s brand value. The company values its contributions in the local community and involves customers and staff. As a retailer with an extended presence in local communities, Homeplus employs a grassroots-style approach to corporate social responsibility activities. Drawing full benefits from its close connection to daily life in communities has been the rationale for selecting extended education, environment and sharing as its three principal areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This unique approach has enabled the company to make a concrete difference to local communities where it has a business presence, creating in the process a new paradigm for CSR as well.
SME Star ― The EUCCK recognizes the commendable efforts of Arneg Korea in overcoming various difficulties to establish a viable business in Korea. Potential growth of the company also appears very promising and should stand as a good example for other SMEs who want to do business in Korea.
Arneg specializes in manufacturing, selling, installing and servicing refrigeration equipment and systems to customers around the world. The company has specialized in the manufacturing of refrigerated cabinets, isothermal doors, cold rooms, shelving, check-out counters and the development of projects for the complete outfitting of commercial outlets.
Arneg Korea employs around 100 people and produces refrigerated cabinets and systems for supermarkets. The products on offer for customers in Korea and neighboring countries include a complete range of equipment needed to furnish large commercial outlets. The Korean company also designs systems and offers assembly services and post-sale assistance. Results achieved in recent years have enabled Arneg Korea to reach sector leadership in an extremely competitive and dynamic market.
Its investment in R&D has resulted in high efficiency, great reliability, eco-compatibility and reduced volumes and costs in the wide range of Arneg refrigeration systems.
For the first time in Korea, Arneg has implemented a new system using CO2, which does not cause any emission of CO2 apart for the gas mass flow circulating in the system, as a refrigerant.