EUCCKEuropean Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (South Korea)
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Yesterday, I myself reviewed all the complaints raised by EUCCK with the director general concerned.
The sudden disappearance of the influential EUCCK had left EU firms without a proper lobbying organisation one year after the entry into force of the landmark EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA).
The EU Delegation in Seoul will also have seat on the board of the ECCK as an "observer," which was not the case at the EUCCK.
The EUCCK denied such accusations, arguing that it was a non-profit organisation, which is therefore not subject to VAT.
This was a watershed, as the board had until that point pledged to keep the EUCCK afloat hoping to appeal against the tax office.
The investigation, launched on 17 February by the Namdaemun Tax Office in downtown Seoul, has finally concluded, on 11 June, that the EUCCK should pay penalties worth KRW4.
This dramatic financial situation forces the EUCCK to fire most of his staff in the coming weeks, Europolitics has learnt from various sources, including the European Commission.
We understand that the EUCCK management is legally contesting the legal determination made by the tax office," said Clancy, the spokesperson for Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who signed the EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA), which entered into force last July.
The fall of the influential EUCCK comes less than a year after the entry into force of the bilateral FTA, which is supposed to boost bilateral trade between the EU and Asia's fourth largest economy.
It is important to understand that the chamber is doomed as the penalties cannot be covered by the EUCCK's own reserves," he said according to the minutes of an EUCCK extraordinary general meeting held on 16 May and seen by Europolitics.
The president and vice-presidents of the EUCCK have written a letter to the presidential office and the ministries in charge of economy and finance to voice their concerns "concerning the possibility of a political agenda behind the tax audit".
Some EUCCK representatives point out, under condition of anonymity, that the tax audit coincided with the election as president of Valerio, who is the head of EADS Korea.