Moon moves to cut regulationsPresident Moon Jae-in’s de facto transition team said Thursday that it would establish a task force to evaluate regulations holding back the development of new industries and begin easing rules in July.
“In our country, there have been too many complaints that companies are struggling to expand because of regulations against new technology,” said Kim Jin-pyo, head of an advisory committee that is acting as President Moon’s transition team. “Moon Jae-in has promised to leave only a few essential regulations and free the rest.”
Kim noted the urgency of loosening government rules by citing a drop in Korea’s global ICT ranking. Under President Roh Moo-hyun in the early 2000s, Korea was ranked third in terms of technological advancement. The country has since dropped to 27th.
“In order to win the competition against advanced economies, the new government has to set up an economic management plan that will aggressively accept and come up with countermeasures,” he said.
Kim’s comment was part of a government report on the fourth industrial revolution jointly issued by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning; Ministry of Strategy and Finance; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; and Small and Medium Business Administration.
“[The fourth industrial revolution has a huge impact in all areas from politics and economy to society and culture,” Kim said. “Every advanced economy has been preparing under the belief that if it is not ready with the infrastructure, it won’t be able to lead in the competition and minimize the side effects in the overall industry. In this area, I think we are lacking.”
In the same report, the committee recommended the government require companies to abolish a basic mandatory fee that all mobile service subscribers have to pay each month, a holdover from when telecom providers only offered calling plans.
Moon said on the campaign trail that the fee was unfairly burdening households.
While the average family pays 124,500 won ($110.90) per month for cellular service, telecommunication companies in 2016 made 3.6 trillion won in operating profit, he said.
The administration plans to first get rid of the fee for those subscribing to the cheapest phone plans. These subscribers currently make up 4 percent of the 55 million mobile phone subscribers.
If the government abolishes the basic fee on these products, net profit at the country’s three biggest telecommunications providers is expected to shrink by roughly 290 billion won a year.
Also on Thursday, a separate committee working on Moon’s jobs policy released its 100-day outline for pushing forth the president’s employment policies.
The plan includes raising the three-month pay for workers that take leave to raise children, giving more tax benefits to companies that create job opportunities and increasing the financial burden on companies that focus on hiring temporary workers.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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