Business delivers wish list to Yoon emphasizing deregulation
Korea's major business lobbying groups called on President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol to lift regulations introduced under the Moon Jae-in administration and strengthen trade relations with the United States.
In a meeting with the president elect on Monday, the heads of business associations — including Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman Chey Tae-won and Korea Employers Federation(KEF) Sohn Kyung-shik — offered a set of policy recommendations.
The attendees raised the need to roll back the Severe Accidents Punishment Act, which holds the CEO of a company responsible if an employee is injured at a worksite. Previous safety laws held the corporation or the field manager accountable for accidents, seldom the individual CEO.
"We acknowledge that safety is of great importance at industrial sites, and corporations are doing their best to prevent accidents," Sohn said, "But it is worrisome that the regulation is preoccupied with punishment."
"The act needs to be amended in a way that fits reality and focuses on measures to prevent worksite accidents," he said.
Korea International Trade Association (KITA) Chairman Koo Ja-yeol highlighted the importance of developing closer commercial ties with the United States.
"I hope that there will be close cooperation with the United States in trade since the global trade order is being restructured by the United States, not to mention the country is a strategic destination for investment," Koo said during the meeting.
Chey from the KCCI suggested that the incoming administration help corporations develop original technology essential to producing chips, electric vehicle batteries and biopharmaceuticals.
"Economy is entangled with national security," Chey said, "Despite Korea playing an integral role in the global supply chain, we need to develop more key original technologies for improved security in the future."
Kim Ki-mun, chairman of Korea Federation of SMEs, brought up the growing disparity between large companies and smaller companies, calling for a streamlining of government agencies to handle the issue.
"There is the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and then the Industry Ministry directs policies about the metal business. When it comes to research and development, the Ministry of Science and ICT is in charge, making all steps inconsistent," Kim said.
During his presidential campaign, Yoon vowed to relax restrictions on businesses, both small and big, and to ensure a market driven by private companies instead of the state. His promises included slowing the minimum wage increase rate and allowing more working hours, in contrast to Moon's policies that raised the minimum wage rapidly and reduced working hours.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]