Trump calls on Korean business leaders to invest more in US

By Song Su-hyun

US President highlights 100 percent tax deduction for capital investments by businesses, elimination of job-killing regulations

  • Published : Jun 30, 2019 - 11:21
  • Updated : Jun 30, 2019 - 19:11

US President Donald Trump on Sunday called on owners of South Korea’s biggest conglomerates to expand their investments in the United States during a meeting before a bilateral summit with President Moon Jae-in.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Hyundai Motor Group Senior Vice Chairman Chung Euisun, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn and other officials from the business community gathered for the meeting at around 8:30 a.m. at Grand Hyatt Seoul in the Yongsan district.

During a 20-minute speech that began around 10 a.m., US President Trump praised the participating leaders of Korean businesses for making investments and creating jobs in the US.

“Hyundai, Samsung, and CJ, Doosan, and SK Group, all here this morning. … They’ve made very large investments in our country, including the companies represented in the room; they’ve created more than 50,000 brand new jobs in the United States,” he said.

Trump also asked chiefs of Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and CJ to stand up in front of the participants for a round of applause for their “great works” for the US economy.

US President Donald Trump (center) speaks during a meeting with a group of business leaders, including Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik and SPC Group Chairman Hur Young-in, at a Seoul hotel on Sunday.   (AP)

“I recognize all four of you, I must tell you. Very famous business leaders and very great business leaders. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. We’ll see you later,” he said.

In particular, Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin was named in recognition of the group’s latest $3.1 billion investment in Louisiana.

“Our countries also enjoy a thriving investment relationship. Since 2017, Korean investment in the United States has expanded by billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said.

The president encouraged the Korean businessmen to expand their investments in the country, emphasizing the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate regulations on business activities in comparison with the Korean business environment.

“There’s never been a better time to invest, or do business, and create jobs in America,” Trump said. “We passed the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country, and eliminated more than 30,000 pages of job-killing regulations -- a record. You don’t have any regulation problem, I know, in South Korea. Do you? You have any?” 

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong walks out of a conference room at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Sunday. (By Song Su-hyun / The Korea Herald)

Trump highlighted that capital investment by businesses can now be 100 percent tax deductible.

The US president also credited the two countries’ efforts in addressing imbalances in trade.

Trade imbalance between the US and Korea has been significantly reduced by about 60 percent, Trump said, with trade deficits of goods decreasing by more than 20 percent last year.

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn (By Song Su-hyun / The Korea Herald)

Regarding global trade, Trump did not directly mention his latest decision to lift the ban on China’s Huawei, which has indirectly burdened Korean companies that have close ties with the Chinese company.

But the president hinted the US would continue discussing its trade deal with China. He described his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan on Saturday as a “really good meeting” and said “We’ll see what happens. A good chance.” 

By Song Su-hyun (