Regulatory reform now

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Regulatory reform now

“In Korea, no new business can be started unless laws and regulations are created. Laws related to drones need to be legislated quickly,” an industry insider said recently.

I thought he would argue for deregulation, but he actually wanted any kind of rules. “It means that no business can be established without regulations,” said Kim Tae-yun, a public policy professor at Hanyang University, adding that companies could suffer the consequences for engaging in business without legal grounds.

In the O2O industry - convergence service connecting online and offline - companies face problems as they grow bigger.

Call Bus, a service in which users can call a bus at night via a smartphone app, was criticized for lacking legal grounds.

While the next-generation food industry has emerged as a major force, regulations have hindered creative challenges.

There are two main challenges in the field: One is that outdated regulations are interfering with the growth of new business models, and the other is the lack of new standards to apply changes.

While unnecessary regulations can be removed, necessary rules also need to be established anew. Regulation-free zones are to be designated for unrestricted drone flights, but there needs to be certain standards for commercialization. It is even more difficult to set standards in the bio and pharmaceutical industries due to health and security concerns.

Even in developed countries, the emergence of new industries is accompanied by trouble. The timely introduction of necessary regulations and systems determines the competitiveness of the country.

Earlier this month, Park Yong-maan, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, met with finance ministers and requested that the government help modify the design of systems and regulations to allow new industries to thrive.

France passed a law on drones in 2012, and Japan revised the aviation law at the end of last year to accommodate drone flights. But the discussion has just begun in Korea.

“If there are no immediate specific risks, new businesses should be allowed without restriction, and the government needs to be ready to respond promptly when problems arise,” Kim said.

It would be wise for policy makers and lawmakers to listen to the opinions of industry insiders and vested parties, and refer to the examples set by other countries. But that is not enough to transform Korea into a leading nation in new industries.

Why can’t the government draft systems and regulations quickly?

The National Assembly and the government are incompetent and want to avoid accountability. It is not easy for government officials to keep up with rapidly changing technological trends. If easy permission leads to problems, then they have to take responsibility.

Now, it is not a matter of whether to go for regulatory reform. The important question today is how promptly reform can be implemented.

The author is deputy business editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 12, Page 30

by KIM WON-BAE

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