Message from Chairperson of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea
Dear Valued Members and Friends,
 
I am very pleased to announce the publication of the third annual report of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK). The annual report covers our views and progress made “doing business in Korea” in 2020 – another busy and productive period in support of European business in Korea.
A year ago, Korea saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case and within a month that number spiked to over 900 cases in a single day. Today we have globally around 112 million cases and more than 90,000 in Korea. Although there is still uncertainty on when the pandemic will end, the forecast for Korea’s economy has a positive outlook, with a recovery in exports led by semiconductors and a sizeable investment in digital and green investments through the New Deal, we are poised for a new start.
2020 was evidently not what we had expected at the start of the year. The novel COVID-19 pandemic has put many businesses to test its resilience and ability to survive the tough times. However, the experience gave strength and renewed hope that we will brave any storms that may lay ahead in 2021 and beyond.
Considering views and opinions of long-standing members and stakeholders of ECCK, I am proud to say that the ECCK was able to achieve, another successful year despite the difficult circumstances. With concerted efforts and hard work by my fellow colleagues on the board, the secretariat, and valued members, we have seen considerable developments in 2020.
Like so many of our member companies, the ECCK had to pivot the business model to continue to serve the needs of our members without any disruptions. On all levels we intensified our efforts to promote constructive dialogues with the government, to support with ideas and experiences to vitalize the economy and curb the challenges.
As a result, I am proud to report that the ECCK team has organized over 50 online and hybrid events, which have been viewed by thousands of members and non-members alike. We virtually met with local, national, and global leaders to learn, exchange best practices, and discuss the economic recovery. Furthermore, we continued to be vocal in public which was widely covered by the media and solidified our reputation, presence, and respect supporting the European business community.
Most importantly, ECCK has continued with our advocacy activities by organizing over 100 meetings with the Korean government, associations, and European counterparts to address the business concerns of our members. Just to name a few, we met with leading policy makers and regulators including Minister Park Young-sun of SMEs and startups, Chairperson Joh Sung-wook of the Fair Trade Commission, Vice Chair Woo Tae-hee of the Korea Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman Ban Ki-moon of the National Council on Climate and Air Quality.
Furthermore, the Chamber continued to strengthen fruitful collaboration with the European embassies in Korea. Our regular exchange and meetings with European ambassadors and trade counselors show our determination to accurately reflect and promote the interests of European business. We truly appreciate the excellent cooperation by the EU Delegation and all European embassies.
The ECCK has taken early, decisive and coordinated action to support our members since the onset of COVID-19. At the initial phase, we conducted a flash survey in March 2020 to hear from our members as to how they were coping with the pandemic and what help they needed. The survey results were then shared with the Korean government together with our opinion letter. Since then, we have continuously been working with the government to address all important topics and improve the restrictions on foreigners related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will ensure that this fruitful cooperation with the government and the various authorities will further develop and continue with constructive dialogues in 2021.
The importance of corporate responsibility has been heightened by the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. Consequently, the ECCK, as a responsible member of the Korean society, supported in many ways by giving back to the community. Early last year, ECCK made an emergency donation of 10 million Korean Won to support the vulnerable neighborhood in Daegu City helping to combat the spread of the virus. We were the first foreign business community to take such action, spearheading the support by other business organizations to join the virus relief efforts.
We also cooperated with our valued members to promote a giving culture and raise donations to help social welfare centers which are suffering through the virus outbreak. With the kind support and a generous donation from Renault Samsung, we organized a charity rally event in last November to help community welfare centers. Additionally, during the Christmas holiday season, our valued member Nestlé made a generous donation of 9 million Korean Won worth of its food products, to ECCK’s charity partners.
In 2021 we will continue to stay true to our vison to advance the interests of companies from the EU, EFTA and the UK: to ensure a fair and open business environment by facilitating dialogue with the government, collect and disseminate information on the business as well as economic and regulatory developments in Korea and Europe, create networking opportunities for its members (virtual, hybrid or hopefully in person again, and contribute to the Korean society by supporting corporate social responsibility activities and promoting good corporate governance practices.
We will continue to help navigate the difficult months that lie ahead and serve our members and the European business community in Korea. We will be challenging the government and authorities to shed light on the areas where the ECCK and our members have identified a need for change and a need to align business practices with Europe and European standards. We will develop initiatives which will support economic recovery and instigate innovation and creativity for Korea.
We highly value and appreciate our members engagement with ECCK’s activities enabling us to significantly contribute to the Korean economy and society. ECCK is in great shape to keep building in the years to come. We can confidently look forward to the continuing success of the Chamber.

Dirk Lukat
Chairperson
European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK)