Korea's parliament set to hold plenary session to vote on key bills

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 20, 2018 - 14:48
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2018 - 14:48

South Korea's parliament is set to hold a plenary session Thursday to vote on key bills, including a proposal aimed at easing nonfinancial firms' ownership cap in Internet-only banks.

But rival parties have yet to narrow differences on details of a few bills on the economy and deregulation, heralding a tough process toward their parliamentary passages. The plenary session, originally set to start at 2 p.m., was delayed by some three hours.


A parliamentary committee on Wednesday passed the bill allowing nonfinancial firms to hold up to a 34 percent stake in Internet-only banks, easing the current 4 percent ownership limit for financial industry reform.

Family-owned conglomerates, known as chaebol, will not be allowed to boost their stakes in Internet-only banks in principle, a move aimed at preventing them from using such lenders as private coffers.

But as an exception, information and communication technology-focused companies will be subject to the deregulation, a move designed to open the door for IT firms entering the web-only banks business.

Two Internet-only banks -- K-Bank and Kakao Bank -- were launched last year, but they have faced difficulty in achieving sustainable growth as their two biggest shareholders, KT and Kakao, are unable to issue shares for the banks' capital increase.

A set of bills on protecting tenants at commercial buildings and promoting business deregulation is also pending.

Through bipartisan cooperation, rival parties earlier tentatively agreed to increase the period for guaranteeing existing tenants' contract renewal to 10 years from the current five, a move aimed at better protecting smaller businesses.

The owners of mom and pop shops and self-employed businesspersons are feeling the pinch the most amid the slowing economy and the government's minimum wage hikes.

The parties also earlier agreed to combine their respective bills aimed at designating new business areas and districts with regulatory benefits and try to pass them at Thursday's session.

The ruling Democratic Party has submitted a law revision for temporarily easing regulations in an initial stage of business projects, while opposition parties' proposals call for across-the-board deregulation in designated industries.

The bill on protecting tenants failed to be put forward for a vote at last month's extraordinary session as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party has called for the passage of controversial bills in a lump-sum manner. (Yonhap)