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EU/SOUTH KOREA : NEW EUROPEAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO BE LAUNCHED IN SEOUL.

EU businesses operating in South Korea will open a new European Chamber of Commerce to defend their interests, following the demise of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK), Europolitics has learnt. The new organisation will start operating this autumn and will be named European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) with the aim of promoting a business-friendly environment for foreign companies operating in Asia's fourth largest economy. The new organisation aims at filling the vacuum left by the sudden closing down of the EUCCK, following a swift tax audit that brought the most influential European business lobbying organisation in the country on its knees. The new organisation will soon be registered with the local authorities. The soon to be unveiled ECCK is now contacting the 800 members of the former EUCCK to convince them to join the new lobbying organisation. It remains to be seen whether the new chamber, which will operate as a private entity, will receive any funding from the European Commission.

The launch of this brand new organisation is the direct consequence of the closing down of the EUCCK, on 26 September, years after its creation. Lack of financial resources made it impossible for the chamber to pay the hefty penalties totalling over 2 million imposed by Seoul's tax authorities last June. According to people familiar with the matter, the board changed its tack when it discovered some shady financial deals conducted by the previous senior management team led by Jean-Jacques Grauhar, the former secretary-general of the EUCCK. This was a watershed, as the board had until that point pledged to keep the EUCCK afloat hoping to appeal against the tax office. Following a massive downsizing of its staff, the EUCCK was originally hoping to keep functioning with a smaller team until a judicial appeal would be completed during the year 2013. However, the discovery of shady financial operations conducted by the previous management has changed the game and convinced the board of the need to close down the EUCCK last month as the organisation was unable to pay its penalties.

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Publication:European Report
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Oct 3, 2012
Words:347
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