Five major business groups lobby ruling party

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Five major business groups lobby ruling party

Leaders of Korea’s five major business groups have urged the ruling Saenuri Party to refrain from pushing legislation related to economic democratization as “it would greatly dampen corporate investment.”

A group of vice chairmen respectively representing five business lobby organizations met with Saenuri Party floor leader Lee Hahn-koo yesterday at the National Assembly.

Organizations represented include: the Federation of Korean Industries; Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Korea International Trade Association; Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business; and Korea Employers Federation.

The groups’ vice chairmen requested the assembly’s judiciary committee to halt three bills, including one to raise the retirement age to 60. The bill has been pending in the judiciary committee since it was passed by National Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee.

If passed, businesses that employ more than 300 workers and state-run enterprises are required to adopt a retirement age of 60 starting Jan. 1, 2016. Smaller companies and central and local governments will introduce the new retirement age by Jan. 1, 2017.

“As the National Assembly’s standing committees are in a heated competition and are pouring out related bills at the same time, there’s not enough time [for us] to collect diverse opinions,” said Kim Young-bae, vice chairman of the Korea Employers Association. “[Legislators] need to have an in-depth discussion for matters that could discourage corporate investment.”

Lee Dong-geun, vice chairman of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he believes the Park Geun-hye administration should first seek economic growth and later head toward enhancing welfare and economic democratization given that both domestic and overseas economic conditions are poor.

“The National Assembly’s environment and labor committee and national policy committee in particular are considering bills that could burden companies without enough discussion,” Lee said.

Lee Hahn-koo of the Saenuri Party said the ruling party will minimize uncertainties that companies feel due to economic democratization-related bills.

Na Seong-lin, acting chief policy maker of the Saenuri Party, said bills pending at the National Assembly are meant to root out chaebol’s unfair practices in ways that won’t hurt their competitiveness.

Meanwhile, critics, including the main opposition Democratic United Party, blasted the business associations’ visit as last-minute lobbying to prevent passage of related bills by the judiciary committee and plenary session.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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