French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a global network and a “golden” key to South Korean market

On Tuesday 10th, after a hefty breakfast and a good night sleep that shook off the 7 hours jet lag we were excited to have the first company visit. In an effort to make the schedule as smooth as possible, our Program Director has arranged the meeting in a conference room booked at the hotel where we resided which allowed us to enjoy an exciting presentation in the most comfortable way.

 The first company visit was the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an entity member of the global network of French Chambers of Commerce Abroad  (UCCIFE), who brings together almost 111 Rooms from over 81 countries and represents a staggering 30,000 companies globally. In the presentation hosted by the Secretary General Mr. Lucas Boudet and Mr. Marc Lauret Project Manager, FKCCI englobes over 250 member companies covering almost all French companies from France that are doing business in South Korea.

Mission and Responsibilities

 The primary mission of FKCCI is to promote bilateral trade between France and South Korea and enhance the investment and trade relationships. Moreover, FKCCI also is responsible to support companies in their implementation in the Korean Market with tailored consulting services that will add value to their business. Furthermore, increase the visibility of members through effective communication tools and help the companies in the “relationship building process” in South Korea. The main partners in France of FKCCI are ACFCI (Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry) that includes CCI France, the French Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abroad and the global network of CCIFE. The FKCCI is governed by a Board of Directors composed of 15 permanent members elected for a period of three years. The Board of Directors members meet monthly to advise and monitor the strategy and the in-house operations.

 The presentation was very engaging and covered the various cultural differences that involved doing business in South Korea and how French companies have overcome these differences by becoming members of FKCCI. As discussed in the presentation, any company can become a member after making a formal application and paying a yearly fee, giving it access to the network and consulting services of FKCCI. Furthermore, the company will pay according to the project and its complexity that FKCCI assists, the afferent charges.

Key takeaway points

-South Korea followed the steps of Japan in order to expand its economy and develop

-It is focused on low cost production to build capital necessary to invest in education and infrastructure. Also, the largest trading partner of South Korea is China and ASEAN, followed by Europe

-South Korea is very protective for some key sectors such as “Electronics”, it employs a   top down approach in the Government structure

-Current issues of South Korea incudes rising labor costs and the household, which are highly indebted

-The Government in South Korea focuses on innovation and developing a strong “Knowledge Economy”

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