October 20, 2018

KITA chairman resigns citing clash with new government

PUBLISHED : October 24, 2017 - 17:13

UPDATED : October 24, 2017 - 17:13

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[THE INVESTOR] The Korea International Trade Association announced that its chairman, Kim In-ho, formally tendered his resignation during a board meeting held at the Trade Tower in Seoul on Oct. 24, despite his term not officially expiring until February next year.

”I am resigning because of the new government,“ said Kim, during a press conference held at the Trade Tower on Oct. 24.


Korea International Trade Association Chairman Kim In-ho speaks during a press briefing held in Seoul on Tuesday, during which he spent most of the hour talking about his differences with the new Moon Jae-in government.

Kim told reporters that he recently received a message from the government asking him to resign from his post. He, however, refused to give any details as to which department of the government sent him the request. 

“Following the induction of the new government, over time, I have been wondering whether it is appropriate for me to continue to serve as chairman,” Kim added. “I have felt a lot of differences in the direction of the new government‘s policy toward economic issues as a whole, as well as with industry, business and trade. Considering my own personal beliefs, I believe these differences (in opinions) will affect the organization’s operation as time goes by.”

Kim, 75, was earlier quoted as saying that his pre-emptive announcement to resign from his post would assist the association in easing into the transition of finding a new head, according to a statement released by KITA. 

Despite his decision to resign over differences in political and economic ideologies with the new administration, the KITA chairman said that as the current chairman of the association -- which he called a purely private economic organization -- he does not wish to create “an undesirable tradition of retiring because of a change in government” and that he wished to get rid of the burden of serving as the chairman under the new administration as soon as possible. 

Until KITA elects a new chairman, Han Joon-ho, the chairman for Samchully Group -- an energy company and member company of the trade association -- will act as the interim chairman. 

Kim began his post as the chair of the trade association on Feb. 26, 2015, succeeding former chairman Han Duck-soo. He began his career in 1967 as a government official at the Economic Planning Board, now known as the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, and served as a policymaker until 1997.

In 1997 Kim went on to serve under the Kim Young-sam administration as a senior presidential secretary for economic affairs. 

KITA was established in 1946 with the objective of advancing the Korean economy through trade and is currently the largest business organization in Korea with more than 70,000 member companies.

By Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald (

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