Korean Gov't to Ax Red Tape Hampering Businesses | Be Korea-savvy

Korean Gov’t to Ax Red Tape Hampering Businesses

SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s government said Sunday that it will scrap 114 administrative rules cited by local companies for hindering businesses, at a time when it is trying to get companies to increase investment to jump-start the economy.
The decision reached at a meeting between representatives from the business sector and policymakers in Seoul comes after economic organizations suggested scrapping 153 rules in mid November.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry said all changes will be made within the first half of 2015, with some revisions to come before March.

“The government has been examining the suggestions made in a favorable light since there is a pressing need to revive vitality in the national economy amid mounting economic uncertainties and weak domestic consumption,” said deputy finance minister Jeong Eun-bo.

Removing red tape is being referred to as the “restrictions guillotine” by the government that has pledged to remove all obstacles to business investment to spur sustainable growth.

Of the revisions suggested, the government rejected 16 that actually called for more regulatory control, and put 23 on hold for the time being.

Regarding hiring practices, the senior official said all matters are being touched by the Economic and Social Development Commission, while lifting restrictions on development in and around the capital city requires considerable debate because there are clear differences that need to be resolved in advance.

Among revisions to be made in the area of business management, the government said it will ease listing regulations so companies need not report minor changes to ongoing projects and deals. The regulations have been criticized for creating unnecessary paperwork.

Other changes to be pursued include giving leeway for investments made by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and venture companies in a subsidiary, and making allowances for the calculation of corporate debt that reflects specific industry conditions,

In the service sector, the government will ease the minimum capital requirements for firms wanting to enter the electronic financial sector and revise laws that currently only allow medical facilities, like hospitals and clinics, to hold and manage medical data.

“Seoul will push for the law to be reformed so sports facilities owned by local government can be leased to clubs and companies for up to 25 years, which will allow long-term investments to be made,” Jeong said. He said in the case of Daegu Stadium, the facility received 50 billion won (US$45.5 million) worth of investments after a quarter-century lease was signed.

He said special preference will also be given toward the use of marinas and so-called public surface water to facilitate tourism.

The official said policymakers understood the need to fuel competition in the telecommunications sector to bring down prices.

On the use of land, the government said it will make it easier to build factories in certain plots of “managed” land and give more freedom in the remodeling of old industrial complexes so work space can be expanded.

It said SMEs will be given leniency in regards to debt ratio if they are engaged in joint research and development work with the government, with innovative ideas in the hospitality sector to be given cash support.

The government, meanwhile, said it will ease the burden on small-scale manufacturers by only imposing special disposal charges for plastic if annual sales exceed 3 billion won, from 1 billion won at present, while cutting down on the number of times companies must submit to environmental impact assessments.

Additional measures to help small companies call for reducing the penalty for being late in paying various key insurance premiums. At present, if a company is late in payment by only a day, it has to pay a whole month’s worth in arrears, but this will be adjusted to reflect the exact number of days.

The government said all changes will be made before the end of June, by either changing ordinances or decrees, employing the assistance of lawmakers if necessary.



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