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Biz group calls on lawmakers to promptly pass economic bills

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korean entrepreneurs have called on lawmakers to promptly pass nine economy-related bills as the term of the current National Assembly ends this month.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business lobby group here, said Monday that it delivered a report on economic legislation to the National Assembly, including the floor leaders of the main political parties and relevant standing committees. The report called for the passage of nine bills urgently needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the KCCI said.

The bills deal with the “Korean New Deal,” as well as measures to revitalize investment and support the hardest-hit business sectors. All pending bills before the 20th National Assembly will be automatically scrapped at the end of its term, which is May 29.

The Korean New Deal focuses on building digital infrastructure and fostering non-face-to-face industries.

“The digital economy needs fast and convenient authentication and transactions. But in Korea, public certificates have a privileged status and prevent new businesses such as new authentication technologies and electronic signatures,” said the KCCI.

The association called for the abolition of public certificates and the revision of the Electronic Signature Act to allow for the use of various electronic signatures.

The chamber of commerce also called for changes to the law governing medical practice, which would allow telemedicine and set regulations for it. The KCCI said the COVID-19 situation in Western countries and Japan had proven how efficient and convenient it was to provide access to medical care and prescriptions over the phone.

Bold tax support is needed for companies investing in facilities and research and development to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and revive investor sentiment, the KCCI said.

It asked for changes to the Restriction of Special Taxation Act, which would grant companies tax deductions equivalent to 10 percent of their investments for three years (2020 to 2022). R&D tax deduction rates have almost halved over the past decade, becoming the lowest among major economies, the KCCI said.

The organization voiced the need to amend the Insurance Business Act to lower the minimum capital requirement for the insurance industry from 30 billion won ($24.6 million) to 300 million won. “Compared to major economies, Korea has excessive capital requirements for the financial industry, which act as an entry barrier for new industries such as fintech.”

Kim Hyun-soo, a chief of the KCCI’s business policy team, said, “If the pending bills are scrapped due to the expiration of their term, it will make it difficult to promise when the pending issues related to the economy and people’s livelihoods will be resolved.

“As the 20th National Assembly is nearing its end, we hope that the important bills will be dealt with in May with a sense of mission.”

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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