President calls for regulatory reform

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Aug 26, 2014 - 21:14
  • Updated : Aug 26, 2014 - 21:49
President Park Geun-hye emphasized the importance of deregulation in boosting the economy on Tuesday, as her administration looked to kick its regulatory reform into overdrive.

“The inevitable conclusion is that regulatory reform holds the key to revitalizing the economy. This has been on my mind a lot recently,” Park said while presiding over the National Economic Advisory Council.

“While we dawdle and engage in conflict among ourselves, the world rids itself of outdated regulations and attracts investment. If this goes on, there won’t be a place for Korea in a decade or two.”

Her comments sought to revitalize the lagging process of abolishing regulations that the government had deemed unnecessary, and detrimental to economic recovery. They also took a jab at lawmakers for the stalemate at the parliament over the special Sewol bill.
President Park Geun-hye speaks during a meeting with members of the National Economic Advisory Council at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The ruling and the main opposition parties are currently at loggerheads over the contentious bill, and the parliament’s regular session slated for September is in peril. On Monday, the Korean leader chastised the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy for the stalemate.

With the National Assembly at standstill, the government-proposed bill on economic reform and reorganization plans have been pending for months.

A ministerial meeting on the regulatory reform scheduled for last week has already been postponed indefinitely by the frustrated leader, who lambasted the lack of solid results. She urged ministries to take care of antiquated regulations pointed out at the first meeting in March ― when she invited 160 government officials, businesspeople and scholars for a fresh perspective ― before engaging in another talk.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won also urged each ministry to ramp up the deregulation drive before the upcoming Chuseok holiday, one of Korea’s biggest.

He echoed Park in saying that the government must pool all efforts to eradicate the problems revealed in the first ministerial meeting on deregulation. The nation’s second-in-command added that the Cabinet must make sure its work should bear fruit, so that the people and corporations of Korea can reap the benefits.

Just months after taking office last year, the Park administration declared a “war on regulations,” which centers on her bid to drastically reform related laws.

Viewing deregulation as the key means to buoy the slumping economy, she ordered a “life or death fight” against the unnecessary regulations that she described as a “thorn under the fingernail,” or “enemy that must be crushed.”

In the wake of the Sewol ferry tragedy in April, declining consumer sentiment in the country ensued since May. To make matters worse, a strong appreciation of the Korean won resulted in falling profit for exporting conglomerates.

Last month, the government unveiled a 41 trillion won ($40.2 billion) stimulus package to curb the negative outlook. The macroeconomic policy aims to implement financial, tax and regulatory reform.

By Yoon Min-sik (