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Business Confidence Survey 2016

Portrait of Soosung Lee
Senior Partner, Managing Partner Korea
Seoul Office, Eastern Asia
+82 10 5775-4226
February 7, 2017

In 2016 the Korean economy grew by 2.7%, compared to a growth rate of 2.6% in 2015. Korean officials still describe the state of the Korean economy being in a crisis mode. Exports were down and problems in the shipbuilding and shipping industry had a negative impact not only on the GDP but also on the general sentiment. For European businesses, however, Korea is and will continue to be an important market.

Yet there are significant challenges to doing business there. Not much progress was made in the past year on initiatives to support business such as deregulation. It appears that industry would like to see bolder progress in the reviews of rules and regulations leading to more operational freedom as well as less complexity in doing business in Korea. It also seemed that policy to a certain extent became more nationalistic. It is of huge concern that about 30% of the responding companies feel that they are somehow discriminated or not treated in a fair way.

The European Business in Korea: Business Confidence Survey was conducted among 131 company executives, representing a combined workforce exceeding 60,000 employees and a total turnover of EUR 50 billion. It aims to provide an annual snapshot of European companies' outlook and perceptions about doing business in Korea.

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Business Confidence Survey 2016

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Published February 2017. Available in