Asia Society's 14th Asian Corporate Conference



Envisioning the World's Next Great Market: Korea and the Economic Future of Northeast Asia Asia Society Dow Jones

Wednesday, May 12  |   Thursday, May 13  |   Friday, May 14

updated 5/3/04

Wednesday, May 12

6:00 pm Opening Night Gala Reception and Dinner
Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea

Opening Keynote Address:
Goh Kun, Acting President, Republic of Korea


Thursday, May 13

8:15 am Session I: Understanding the New Korean Economy

  • What are Korea’s prospects for achieving consistently rapid economic growth rates, even as it begins to mature as an economy?
  • How far has Korea come toward attaining its goal of becoming an economic hub for Northeast Asia in financial services, logistics and research/development? What are the barriers to achieving this goal, even in the long run?
  • How has the Korean consumer evolved in recent years, and what impact is that having on domestic demand? How can companies capitalize on the sophistication of Korea as a marketplace?
  • How has Korea’s exploding trade with China in recent years altered Korea’s economic landscape? How has it affected Korea’s economic relationship with the United States?
  • To what extent has Korea met the challenges to attracting wider foreign direct investment, and what more can be done? How can Korea solve its labor problem? How are labor relations affecting foreign investment flows? How can the costs of finishing reform be seen as less painful than the costs of not finishing reform?
  • What can Korea do to reduce the volatility of its financial markets and cut down the frequency of financial crises?
  • What impact will the 2004 parliamentary elections have on Korea’s economic direction?

Keynote Address:
Lee Hun-jai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy, Korea

Wonduck Lee, President, Korea Labor Institute; Chairman, Korea Industrial Relations Association
John Gledhill, Managing Director, Philip Morris Korea Inc.
Sung-Jin Hwang, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus
Dan Carroll, Managing Partner, Newbridge Capital

Gordon Crovitz, Senior Vice President and President of Electronic Publishing, Dow Jones & Company

10:15 am Session II: Banking and Financial Market Reform in Korea and the Region

  • To what extent should Korea’s success in building a consumer credit-driven domestic economy be emulated around the region? How has the recent credit crunch and resulting economic fallout changed the way Asian leaders encourage consumer-lending policies in their own countries?
  • To what extent has Korea’s commercial bank reform and NPL cleanup served as a model for other countries in the region? Have the recent sales of major stakes in Korean banks to foreign investors signaled a more open banking sector for Korea? How does the rest of the region stack up against this record?
  • To what extent has a strong institutional shareholder base been created in Korea? What steps can be taken to create deeper securities markets? How does participation on the part of independent institutional investors compare with that of other countries in Asia?
  • Can financial reforms in Korea provide a relevant model for Japan? How does Japan view the challenges involved in reforming its financial sector in comparison with the challenges Korea has faced and is facing? Is the scale of Japan’s banking and NPL problems too large for the Korea example to be relevant?
  • Why has Korea recently seemed so prone to financial crises? Are there warnings in Korea’s financial reform process for other countries to heed?

Keynote Address:
Jung-Jae Lee, Governor, Financial Supervisory Commission, Korea

Yon Won-young, President and CEO, Korea Asset Management Corporation
Joshua Felman, Assistant Director, Asia and Pacific Department, International Monetary Fund
Robert Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Korea First Bank
Nicholas Moore, Executive Director, Investment Banking Group, Macquarie Bank Ltd.

Reginald Chua, Editor, The Asian Wall Street Journal

11:45 am Special Briefing: Gateway to Northeast Asia: New Songdo City

This special session will brief the conference on the development of New Songdo City, located on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront. A project with enormous geopolitical implications, New Songdo City is a major component in the planned transformation of South Korea into the hub of Northeast Asia.

In addition, all conference attendees are invited to the Commemoration Ceremony of New Songdo City on May 12th.

Stanley Gale, Chairman and CEO, The Gale Company
John Hynes, President and CEO, Gale International
Sang-Soo Ahn, Mayor of Incheon

Moderator: Richard C. Holbrooke, Chairman, Asia Society

12:30 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Session III: Overcoming “The Korean Discount”

  • Why have Korean companies traditionally been undervalued by the market? To what extent do corporate governance and poor treatment of shareholders continue to be a cause of low valuations, despite recent reforms?
  • To what extent has domestic economic growth been stunted by the expensive cost of capital? What are the solutions to this problem? What reforms can the government enact?
  • Does the KOSPI’s recent rise signal an end to the Korean Discount? Why has the run-up been foreign investor-led, while domestic investors still seem to be shying away from buying?
  • To what extent are cultural obstacles preventing real change from occurring within Korean companies? What is the future of the family-controlled chaebol? Will they have to change their management structure in order to survive the next round of reform when it comes?

Keynote Address:
Kang Chul-kyu, Chairman, Fair Trade Commission, Korea

Suchan Chae, Member, Korean National Assembly*
Hasung Jang, Professor of Finance and Director of Asian Institute of Corporate Governance, Korea University
Robert Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Korea First Bank


3:45 pm Session IV: Does Korea Have What It Takes to Become a Services-Oriented International Business Hub?

  • How can Korea as a nation develop the mindset to become the economic hub of Northeast Asia? How can Korea develop the internal “software” to become a services hub? How close is Korea to producing the sizable class of international, analytical thinkers needed to serve this kind of economic hub?
  • What improvements can be made in the enforcement of international legal standards? What is preventing these legal reforms from happening more quickly?
  • How can the Korean government foster a climate of entrepreneurship to create a class of more dynamic, innovative companies?
  • How is Korea developing its regional trade strategy to support its long-term goal of becoming an economic hub? Are bilateral trade agreements with Korea’s neighbors a necessary element of this strategy, and if so, what is Korea doing to facilitate them
  • To what extent could rigidity in the labor market and confrontational labor-management relations thwart Korea’s efforts to become a hub?
  • Does the hub concept still make sense as a viable economic strategy? Could it leave the domestic economy too vulnerable to regional economic wind shifts?

Yong-Ho Baek, President, Seoul Development Institute
Ronald J. Anderson, Senior Vice President, American International Group, Inc.; Chairman, AIG Companies, Japan and Korea
K. Kesavapany, Director, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Managing Director, Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority
Dinesh Malkani, Managing Director, Avaya Korea
William Oberlin, Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce in Korea
Dinesh Malkani, Managing Director, Avaya Korea

Marcus Wright, Senior Editor, Dow Jones Newswires

6:00 pm Second Night Dinner
Hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government

Welcome address:
Lee Myung-bak, Mayor of Seoul


Friday, May 14

8:30 am Session V: Prospects for Economic Integration in Northeast Asia and the Wider Region

  • Can recent bilateral investment treaties in the region serve as the catalyst for a more comprehensive regional investment and trade agreement? Can ASEAN+3 act as a catalyst? Can Japan play a leadership role?
  • How can today’s leaders overcome the burden of history to forge stronger economic unity with old rivals in Northeast Asia?
  • What can South Asia and Southeast Asia do to take greater stakes in Northeast Asia’s growth? What value can India and ASEAN nations contribute to the Northeast Asian economy?
  • How could the nations of Northeast Asia use closer regional economic integration to each gain a stronger bargaining position in global trade talks and WTO disputes?
  • To what extent will the opposition of unions and other interest groups impede the development of trade agreements in the region?

Keynote Address:
Ban Ki-moon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Korea

Keynote Address:
John Taylor, Undersecretary for International Affairs, Department of the Treasury, US

Keynote Address:
Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade, Vietnam*

Keynote Address:
Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; Undersecretary of the United Nations

Nicholas Platt, President, Asia Society

10:45 am Session VI: The Impact of North Korea on the South and Beyond

  • What are the prospects for the easing of US-North Korea conflict in the near term? How will US-North Korea relations impact the general business climate on the Korean peninsula? What are the prospects for peace and security on the Korean peninsula?
  • Can business relations between North and South play a role in easing political relations? In light of the 2000 summit scandal, what is the best way push business relations between North and South forward again?
  • How will uncertainties about security on the Korean Peninsula be priced into foreign investment figures and market valuations moving forward?
  • Can uncertainties about security on the Korean Peninsula help foster greater regional cooperation? Can this cooperation spread into the economic sphere?
  • How can investors and executives with a (very) long-term view position themselves to capitalize on potential opportunities in North Korea if and when it begins to open up to the outside world?
  • How do developments on the Korean Peninsula affect the Northeast China economy?

Keynote Speaker:
Jeong Se-hyun, Minister of Unification, Korea

Thomas Hubbard, US Ambassador to Korea
William Overholt, Asia Policy Chair, RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy
Kongdan Oh, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses

Michael Vatikiotis, Editor at Large, Far Eastern Economic Review

12:30 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Session VII: China in the Region

  • How does China’s “Fourth Generation” of leaders view China’s role in the regional economy? What kind of economic and trade policy will China’s leaders pursue with their neighbors in the coming years?
  • How can multinationals best capitalize on growing trade between China and South Korea?
  • How will the value of the renminbi affect economic planning throughout the region, for companies as well as governments?
  • In what ways does China’s economic growth affect the domestic economies of other countries in the region? To what extent does China’s growth have an impact on labor issues in countries like Korea? Will the threat of competition from China for Korean companies’ capital expenditures force Korea to follow through with its labor reforms?
  • How will the buildup to the 2008 Olympics translate into business opportunities for the region? To what extent will the Olympics further transform Beijing as an investment destination?

Pi Qiansheng, Member of the Standing Committee of the Tianjin Municipal Party Committee
James Huang, Deputy General Manager, China Galaxy Securities Company Ltd.
Hyun-joon Cho, Senior Executive Vice President, Hyosung Group
Pang Zhongying, Director, Global Studies Institute, Nankai University

Cui Ming, Publisher, Wealth Magazine

3:45 pm Concluding Discussion: The Korean Political Environment in Context

This special session will address the current political environment in Korea and its implications for the foreign investors, corporations and governments that interact with the Korean leadership on a regular basis. How can outsiders best understand the situation, and to what extent does it reflect important long-term trends in the Korean political system? The session will be a completely interactive discussion between the moderator, the panelists and the audience.

Byung-kook Kim, Professor of Political Science, Korea University*
Bae Soon Hoon, Chairman, Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Economic Hub
Joseph Winder, President, Korean Economic Institute of America

Gordon Fairclough, Seoul Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

5:00 pm Closing Reception

5:30 pm Conference Ends


* = unconfirmed