Goodbye to pesky online authentication certificates

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Goodbye to pesky online authentication certificates

As early as June, authentication certificates will no longer be required for online purchases made locally or from overseas.

Currently, all Internet purchases in excess of 300,000 won ($280) require authentication certificates uploaded from Microsoft’s ActiveX.

Earlier, the government had announced it would eliminate authentication certificates for overseas buyers in May. But that sparked demand for equal treatment for Koreans.

The authentication certificate requirement is one of 41 red tape regulations the government plans to change of 52 proposed by the private sector. Of the 41, 27 will be changed or abolished by the end of June and 14 by the end of the year.

Of the original 52 suggested for change, seven are under review and four have been rejected or considered for alternate solutions.

“The government will proceed with the regulation reform under the sense that irrational regulations are the poison mushrooms of the economy,” said Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok during an economic ministers’ meeting yesterday at the government complex in downtown Seoul.

Hyun, quoting Chinese philosopher Laozi, said too many regulations or bans will make people poorer.

“A policy under which the public can’t feel the changes is not a proper policy, and we will continue to strengthen our efforts until the people can feel it,” the finance minister added.

The minister said the government will come up with measures for the regulations that are on hold - such as those involving games - after thorough investigation and analysis.

Yesterday’s announcement follows last week’s marathon forum on red tape held at the Blue House.

As part of the Park Geun-hye administration’s three-year plan to lift the nation’s economic growth to 4 percent annually, increase the employment rate to 70 percent and raise per capita income to $40,000, the government recently embarked on a crusade to bolster economic activity through deregulation.

The authentication certificate has been one of the key obstacles to the expansion of online commerce by attracting overseas consumers whose interest in Korea has risen in recent years thanks to widening popularity of Korean cultural content such as TV shows, movies and music, also known as Hallyu or the Korean Wave.

The regulation changes announced yesterday weren’t limited to Korean companies but also affect foreigners working in Korea and overseas companies doing business here.

They include simplifying the process for registering foreign employees. The changes will allow foreign employees to report their status to either the Ministry of Employment and Labor or the Ministry of Justice instead of registering at both institutions separately.

Tax auditing of foreign companies will be eased, too. Instead of unannounced audits, the National Tax Service will hold regularly scheduled investigations of foreign companies whose annual revenues exceed 300 billion won. Companies with annual earnings of less than 50 billion won will see their number of tax audits reduced.

Additionally, local insurance companies will now be able to serve customers from outside of the country, which is expected to help boost the local medical and tourism industry.

In another change, smart devices that monitor the heart rate can be sold without having to go through the process of getting a certificate that classifies them as medical equipment.

To boost the financial market, the government said it will ease legislation relating to the capital market to bolster the participation of private equity funds.

For midsize companies, the government plans to come up with a clearer definition of such companies, while increasing the tax deductions for research and development and fund-raising.

Other noticeable changes are allowing regular commercial trucks to be reconstructed as food trucks. The government plans to change the regulations covering automobiles, food and sanitation by July.

Also starting in June, the modification of privately owned cars will be permitted. The government said fine-tuning cars, including altering the structure and adding features, will no longer be banned as long as the changes do not jeopardize the safety of the vehicle or the public.

On construction, regulations that had previously prohibited the establishing of hotels near schools will be changed.

Previously, Hanjin Group had difficulty trying to build a hotel by Gyeongbok Palace because the construction site was next to a school.

Meanwhile, after the government red tape forum that lasted for seven hours on March 20 with roughly 140 participants from the government, private business and academia, there were requests for changes to an additional 341 regulations submitted through Tuesday, according to the government.

This exceeds the total of 300 requests for regulation changes that the government received throughout all of last year.

BY Lee ho-jeong []

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