9/19/2009

Koreans Saved Wall Street

Korea Times
September 18, 2009
by Sean C. Hayes (Host of this blog)


Ok, maybe not, but foreign direct investment (FDI) and other investments by domestic and foreign businesses have contributed to saving the American economy.

Woori Finance Private Equity Fund and Kumho Investment Bank led a consortium that bought the AIG Building, the largest building in lower Manhattan and the fifth largest in New York City.

The building, which at the height of the real estate boom was valued at $1 billion, is presently valued, according to industry sources, at around $400 million. The 66-floor-tall Gothic behemoth completed in 1932 is destined to be a profitable lower Manhattan landmark for years to come.

Korean companies have also invested heavily in the U.S. auto and electronics markets through manufacturing and distribution outlets. These and other investments by foreign businesses are stimulated by the business friendly American micro- and macro-economic environment.

This environment is well reflected in most noted economic freedom indexes and the fact that year-after-year America is the number one destination for FDI.

America's economy will be saved by this business friendly environment that motivates the international and domestic community of investors to consider America as a healthy destination for their capital.

Korean companies big and small have changed their mindset with regard to outbound FDI. Korean companies, since WWII have looked abroad for destinations for their products.

In recent years, however, many Korean conglomerates and even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have shunned Korea investment opportunities in favor of foreign investment, thus, diverting their focus from export destinations to FDI destinations. Many of these Korean businesses have chosen the U.S. and other business-friendly destinations.

Foreign investors have also decreased their exposure to the Korean economy in favor of more business-friendly, lower-cost, and higher-growth economies.

The present astute Korean administration has realized this phenomenon and, thus, has vowed to increase FDI and stimulate growth through business and foreign capital friendly initiatives, but because of a vocal and powerful radical-liberal minority most of the reform efforts have either stalled or been amended to the point of uselessness.

All that is left is an administration hell-bent on stimulating growth through infrastructure spending and exports.

The administration must return to its bold roots and cut taxes, streamline government, decrease the regulatory burden on businesses, and implement its other noted progressive initiates that will allow this nation to grow through local and foreign investment.

However, the only way for this administration to get its initiatives off the ground is to motivate the mainstream to fight this radical liberal minority.

It's a minority, we all realize, that is mobilized by Marxist radicalism and is determined not to work within the political system, but to destroy the very system that created our present prosperity.

America is being saved by the world and American investors; I fear that if Korea doesn't change to become friendlier to foreign and domestic capital no one will be left to save this once proud and vibrant Asian Tiger.

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com