Regulations to be relaxed on exports, foreign workers

By Kim Yon-se
  • Published : Mar 27, 2014 - 20:59
  • Updated : Mar 28, 2014 - 08:56
Policymakers said Thursday that the government was considering easing 41 major regulatory hurdles by the end of 2014 as follow-up measures to President Park Geun-hye’s recent deregulation initiative.

At a meeting of economic policymakers, the Finance Ministry said it would accept 41 out of a total of 52 proposals on deregulation made during the televised talks between the president and local business people a week ago.

“Out of the 41, the government will ease or lift regulatory hurdles for 27 of them during the first half,“ the ministry said in a statement. “The remaining 14 will be tackled by the end of this year.”

The 41 items involve the long-standing restrictions faced by foreigners residing in Korea, and those aimed at helping the Korean firms tap into the overseas market.

Further, planning regulations were also lifted to allow hotels to be built near schools, a move expected to accelerate a long-delayed project being pushed by Korean Air Lines to build a luxury hotel in central Seoul.

The construction will be allowed on condition that hotels do not have any “harmful” facilities that could hurt the educational environment in nearby schools.

Currently, hotels cannot be built within 200 meters of a school.

For Korean businesses that hire foreign workers, the government is set to offer a more simplified process for these companies to report on their employment.

On the other hand, the tax authority promised to be more flexible in conducting investigations into foreign companies operating in the local market.

For that goal, the National Tax Service plans to conduct fewer investigations into foreign companies with less than 50 billion won ($45 million) in annual income.

Foreign workers attend a protest against crackdown. (Yonhap)

For the health and medical sector, the government will offer Korean hospitals or other medical institutions the authority to establish subsidiaries in the overseas market.

The customs authority ― in coordination with the Finance Ministry ― is poised to clarify its stance as to whether the government would increase the personal duty-free tax allowance for travelers from the current level of $400.

Earlier this month, under the initiative of the incumbent administration, ministries pledged to cut the total number of regulations on business activities to 80 percent of the current level by 2016.

The plan translates into the removal of 2,200 regulations and a drop in the total from 15,269 to 13,069 over the next two or three years.

By Kim Yon-se (