The head of South Korea's largest business lobby on Tuesday expressed opposition against a ruling party move to scrap a government tax reduction plan, saying companies can invest more when they have the means to do so.
"I oppose the move in the political sector to repeal government tax reduction plans," Huh Chang-soo, chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), said in a press conference. "Companies can create more jobs and increase their investment only when they have enough resources."
Huh's remarks came less than a week after the governing Grand National Party decided to push for scrapping a planned tax cut for corporations during an upcoming parliamentary session beginning in September.
The FKI chief, also the chairman of the country's energy and construction giant GS Group, said collecting more taxes was only a matter of choice for the government, but that such a decision could change the future of individual firms and, in time, the country's economy.
"It is only a matter of choice. It is an issue they (lawmakers) will decide, but when companies have more resources, they will hire more people and invest more money," he said.
The 63-year-old also voiced opposition to a government move to increase its financial support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and encourage large conglomerates to shoulder some of the burden.
"I believe it is more desirable to help SMEs develop their own competitiveness instead of providing financial compensation (support)," Huh told reporters. "Providing unconditional support does not help create competitiveness and it will not help develop our SMEs into global companies."
The FKI head did not single out any government policy for SMEs, but the remarks came only hours after Chung Un-chan, head of the government commission for shared growth, renewed his proposal for large companies to share some of their "excess profits" with smaller firms.
Last week, the Korea Economic Research Institute, a private think tank run by the FKI, strongly criticized the proposal.
"Instead of blindly protecting inefficient or incompetent businesses, the government should work to help improve the competitiveness of SMEs, even as to let some perish if they cannot stand on their own in the market," it said.