[Special Luncheon with DPM] Finance minister pledges deregulation at AMCHAM meeting
Finance minister pledges
deregulation at AMCHAM meeting By Song Seung-hyun, The Korea
Herald - Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho on Wednesday pledged to continue efforts
to eliminate regulations that do not fit global standards.
“The Korean government will
work on removing hurdles that hinder US business operators from establishing
Korea as a regional headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region,” Choo said at a
special luncheon event held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas Hotel on
“To turn Korea into a No. 1
foreign investment destination, we will strive to create a friendly investment
environment with every ministry obtaining a mindset as a salesperson."
With about 90 global corporate
representatives in attendance, including members of the American Chamber of
Commerce in Korea board of governors, the event offered an in-depth look into
the Korean government’s strategies to boost the economy and further strengthen
the US-Korea economic cooperation through a closer partnership with AmCham
Choo emphasized that the recent
flat tax reform was part of the government’s efforts to attract more foreign
businesses to Korea.
The Korean government offers a
flat income tax rate of 19 percent for foreigners who work in Korea. The period
for which this tax benefit is applied was extended from five years to 20 years
beginning this year. Foreign workers are subject to normal progressive income
tax rates of up to 45 percent afterward.
“I understand that there are
demands for further expansion of this period, we will work on it,” Choo said.
AmCham Korea Chairman and CEO
James Kim welcomed the change and expressed gratitude to Choo for making this
“The recent tax reform,
including the 20-year flat tax rate for foreign workers, is a great testament
to the deputy prime minister’s leadership in championing important economic
reform in Korea,” Kim said. “This year, AmCham will continue to promote greater
economic growth in Korea and be a win-win partnership to the Korean government
to accomplish one of our key initiatives of establishing Korea as a regional
headquarters in (the Asia-Pacific region).”
Choo also said the plan to
revise the current 52-hour workweek is aimed to create a flexible labor market
that can also be appealing to foreign businesses.
The new plan will allow workers
to manage the time they work not only on a weekly basis and give them the
option to work up to 69 hours a week.
“During busy periods, workers
may choose to work longer hours, and during quieter times, they may choose to
work fewer hours,” Choo said. He added that this change is not intended to make
people work longer.
According to Choo, American
investors injected a total of $8.7 billion into South Korea last year,
continuing its position as Korea’s top investment partner.
Choo also noted that the
government has made some changes to create an environment that can appeal to
many foreign investors that are willing to put money in the Korean stock
He especially highlighted the
Korean government’s recent effort to extend the operating hours of the foreign
exchange market and repeal the registration requirement for foreign investors.
“Deregulation cannot happen
overnight but we are open to any kind of suggestions,” he added.
Regarding growing concerns over
the impact of US policies -- like the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Act --
on Korean firms, Choo said “two countries will seek a harmonious solution.”
“Furthermore, the US and Korean
governments will continue our mutually beneficial relationship with the
Korea-US FTA,” he added.
Founded in 1953, AmCham is the
largest foreign chamber in Korea, comprising more than 800 member companies and
affiliates with substantial participation in the Korean economy.