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[Bills in Focus] Infrastructure building in new cities, retail industry deregulation

By Korea Herald

Published : March 25, 2024 - 12:37

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Proposed Bill: Partial Amendment to the Special Act on Public Housing

Proposed by Rep. Seo Il-jun (People Power Party)

● The lack of major transportation infrastructure in new cities is inconvenient for residents. This amendment modifies the timeframe for formulating improvements in metropolitan transport in large-scale housing supply projects from "before the approval of the housing zone development plan" to "within one year after the designation of a housing zone."

Proposed Bill: Partial Amendment to the Act on Special Cases Concerning Unoccupied House or Small-scale Housing Improvement

Proposed by Rep. Yoo Gyeong-joon (People Power Party)

● As high interest rates and prices cause a downturn in the housing market, there have been calls to simplify procedures to revitalize housing improvement projects. This amendment lowers the minimum resident consent rate required to establish associations regarding housing improvement projects in a city block or small-scale improvement projects from 80 percent to 75 percent.

Pending Bill: Partial Amendment to the Distribution Industry Development Act

Proposed by Rep. Koh Yong-jin (Democratic Party of Korea)

● The long formulation cycle of the master plan for the development of the retail industry makes it difficult to modify and establish policies in response to the rapid changes in the industry. This amendment shortens the formulation cycle of the master plan and eases regulations on superstores. In particular, this amendment excludes mail-order businesses operated within superstores or quasi-superstores from compulsory closure and business hours restrictions.

Currently, under the Distribution Industry Development Act enacted in 2012, aimed at safeguarding traditional markets and local businesses as well as guaranteeing the health and rights of the rest of the workers, big-box retailers like E-mart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus are legally obligated to close twice a month on public holidays, often aligning with the second and fourth Sundays.

Although local governments possess the authority to determine the closure days through their own ordinances, the early enforcement of Sunday closures in Seoul influenced widespread adoption across the country. They were also required to shut down from midnight to 10 a.m., preventing them from delivering online orders on days when the outlets were closed.

However, it has faced criticism for inconveniencing customers and hampering weekend sales, particularly in the face of surging e-commerce growth. Lately, cities like Daegu and Seoul's some districts have transitioned, or are considering transitioning, from weekend closures to weekdays, signaling a move toward abolishing this law.

Promulgated Bill: Enforcement Decree of the Personal Information Protection Act

Competent Authority: Personal Information Protection Commission

● This bill specifies the method of assessing the level of personal information protection and also specifies how data subjects can exercise their right to reject or request an explanation of a decision made through automatically processed personal information. It also requires transparent disclosure of the criteria and procedures of the automated decision-making system.

Administrative Announcement: Partial Amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Consumers

Competent Authority: Fair Trade Commission

● This amendment allows mediation members to attend meetings online to improve the efficiency and promptness of consumer dispute mediation meetings and prepares procedures and methods for factual surveys for consumer policies.

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The Korea Herald republishes a weekly legislative report by local law firm DR & AJU LLC to provide the latest information on bills approved, proposed, pending and set to be promulgated. -- Ed.

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For any queries about the bills, contact cr@draju.com.