Korean Smart City Opportunities for Foreign and Domestic Companies Doing Business in Korea

The Korean government’s “2020 Smart Challenge” is officially rolling out with the Act on the Promotion of Smart City Development and Industry of Korea. The Act is coming into effect on Feb. 27, 2020. The Korean government is, specifically, launching three separate projects called: Korean City Challenge Open to large, SMEs and startup companies. Intended to encourage creative and technological solutions to problems in cities. Smart-mobility may be a large focus of the governments initiative. Korean Town Challenge Open to large, SMEs and startup companies. Intended to encourage businesses to create localized solutions to issues facing towns. Korean Solution Challenge Open to large, SMEs and startup companies. Intended to encourage the creation of smart solutions to issues facing towns and cities. such as smart crosswalks, smart playgrounds and other one-off solutions to issues. This 2020 Smart Challenge initiative shall be under a regulatory sandbox (an enclosed environment, supported by a

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Korea prepares itself for Big Data-driven 4th Industrial Revolution: Korean Data Protection Laws Revised

On January 9, 2020, the National Assembly of Korea passed the “Three Data Act” of Korea. Implementation of the Act shall begin in June of 2020. The Korean Three Data Act iterates protections for, in general: personal information; information and communication; and business & individual credit information. IPG shall be writing more on this data protection issue over the next couple of months, please check back for more details. Three Data Act of Korea According to an article entitled the “Major Revisions and Significance of The Three Data Act” from the Legal Times, there are four major changes. “1. The personal information system shall be clearly divided into three sub-categories: personal information, pseudonym information, and anonymous information. Specifically, for pseudonym information, detailed regulations shall be established. 2. The Personal Information Protection Commission’s role shall be changed to a unified supervisory organization over all personal information. 3. All provisions related to

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Expanding your business into Asia? Use Korea as a Test Bed

So you want to expand into China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia (Asia)? We here at IPG suggest considering Seoul, Korea as a Test Bed for your Asian expansion. The following article’s focus is on Luxury Goods and Fintech, but IPG believes that the Korean Market is, also, an excellent stepping off point for other industries including F & B, Defense, Franchise, Automotive, High Tech, New Tech, Retail and Fourth Industrial Revolution industries. Another article that may be of interest, that we posted a few years back, is an article on Using Korea as a Test Market for Asian Expansion: The Facebook Example. If you have any questions, we are always here for a consultation. Korea as a Test Market/Test Bed for your Company’s Asian Expansion Many savvy companies have, successfully, utilized the Seoul, Korean market to test the Asian waters. For example, luxury powerhouse, Louis Vuitton, opened a uniquely designed

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Avvo Top-Rated Lawyer: Sean Hayes

Avvo, a website that eases the challenge of finding the right lawyer, rated Sean Hayes at the top with the highest achievable score. This superb rating is significant in the fact that it is determined after taking various factors into consideration: experience, background, legal community recognition, legal thought leadership and discipline. Reiterating a little bit of his background: over his 16+ years in Korea, Sean is known for his aggressive advocacy and candid NY-style street-smart advice. He is also one of the few attorneys in Asia with experience managing non-consulting companies and working as an interim HR Manager. Please refer to his Avvo account for more information. Congratulations, Sean! (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

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BCCK Christmas Lunch 2019

Through the Christmas Lunch 2019, the British Chamber of Commerce in Korea (BCCK) lived up to its claim that “even Santa knows it’s the best event in Seoul.” The BCCK event was comprised of the whole package: festive food, drinks, music, games, gifts, an auction and sing-alongs. IPG proudly won three charity prize auctions and Sean Hayes, attorneys from IPG, guests and friends of IPG attended the event and are looking forward to more events from the BCCK this coming year. Setting Christmas “jumpers” and colorful “trousers” (the British way of saying sweaters and pants:) as this year’s theme brightened up the whole atmosphere and increased the level of merriment. The BCCK is a non-profit organization promoting the development of British trade, commerce and investment in Korea through its business services and networking opportunities. It is, also, encompasses a great group of people. Refer to the BCCK website for more

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Camarata Christmas Music Festival 2019 Sponsored by IPG Legal

IPG Legal is proud to be a sponsor of Camarata Music Company Studio annual Christmas Concert. We, highly, recommend participating in the event. The event is one of the most enjoyable events of the Christmas season. Tickets are still available. You can buy tickets at: Christmas 2019. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

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Deutscher Club Seoul: Christmas Dinner 2019

As Christmas day is nearing this holiday season, numerous Christmas events are taking place around the city of Seoul. One of the best events that we at IPG Legal are proud to be a corporate sponsor of this event by the Deutscher Club. The Deutscher Club Seoul (the German Club Seoul) once again organized a ‘Weihnachtsdinner’ (Christmas dinner), celebrating the season with good drinks and food. The Deutscher Club created a great platform for people with a common interest to come together and partake in events around Seoul. Besides festivities, the Deutscher Club Seoul also enables its members to discover Seoul culturally through various organized events. Visit Deutscher Club for more information. We, highly, recommend all interested in Germany, the German language and meeting a cadre of great individuals to consider the event. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog

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52-Hour Workweek Delayed in Korea for SMEs: Korean Labor Law Update

The Korean government delayed the implementation of the 52-hour workplace system for certain small and medium size companies. This System is intended to apply to all companies in Korea and mandates that no employee may work for an employer for more than 52-hours in any one week. The Ministry of Employment and Labor of Korea announced, on December 11, 2019, that the 52-hour workplace system is suspended for SMEs (Employers with less than 300 workers) until the end of 2020. The Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor made the announcement, because of fears that the measure may harm these businesses. We are of the opinion that because of recent changes in the enforcement of Korean labor laws, it is advisable to revise company employment rules, agreements and have a compliance audit for your company in Korea. If you would like a call with an attorney at IPG, please schedule a

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Mandatory Registration of Long-term Trips Abroad – Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act of 2019

The Amendment to the Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act (hereinafter as “Amendment to the Registration of Korean Nationals Abroad Act”) shall enter into force at the end of 2019. The Amendments major focus is on collecting more information about Korean nationals staying or residing abroad. For a related update related to Korean Passports, please see: Korean Passports. Key-facts about the Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act The Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act facial purpose is to “…understand the current status of the nationals of the Republic of Korea residing or staying abroad by having them registered, in order to promote conveniences of their activities at home and abroad, execute relating administrative affairs properly, thereby contributing to the formulation of protective policies for them.”. In accordance with the Act, Korean nationals shall register their stay in foreign countries as soon as the duration exceeds

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Korea Enhances its Scope of Eligible Persons under the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation: Korean Aide to Developing Countries

The Amendment to the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation (hereinafter as “Act”) was proposed by the Korean Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee at the end of last year. The law intent is to improve the human rights of juveniles in developing countries by the establishment of a variety of international development cooperation programs for at risk and impoverished children. Main Objectives of the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation The major purpose of the Act is to enhance “…the appropriateness of policies for international development cooperation and the effectiveness of implementation thereof, and effectively achieve the policy objectives of international development cooperation by providing for basic matters concerning international development cooperation, thus contributing to the co-prosperity of humanity and to world peace.” (Art 1). The cooperation partners included are either based on bilateral (f.i. cooperation partners of the State, local governments or public institutions) or multilateral (international

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Korean Waste Control Act Amendments of 2019

As a reaction to several accidents in waste storage facilities, the Korean National Assembly passed an an Amendment to the Korean Waste Control Act on March 28, 2019. The amendment puts in place, a more transparent measures and rules for waste-storage facilities. Major Amendments to the Korean Wastes Control Act Set of safety measures for waste-collecting vehicles. More specific safety rules for waste-storage facilities. Implementation by the Korean Ministry of Environment to conduct an annual safety inspection and survey on waste treatment business facilities. Violation of Safety Measures as per the Amended Waste Control Act A violation of these safety regulations can result in a partial or total suspension of the waste business operations of the concerning company. Additionally, shareholders and directors may be criminally punished for up to two years or a fine of up to KRW 20,000,000. For the current Waste Control Act of Korean please see: Korean

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Definition of “Ordinary Wage” in Korea: Korean Employment & Labor Law Basics

The courts of the Republic of Korea, for years, has struggled to find a consistent interpretation of an “Ordinary Wage.”  The definition of Ordinary Wage, under Korean Law, was clarified by the Korean Supreme Court in two decisions handed down on December 18, 2013.  The calculation of Ordinary Wages is important, since it is utilized to calculate statutory entitlements, and thus has an impact on the aggregate amount of contributions necessary to be paid to employees. For example, according to Article 56 of the Korean Labor Standards Act, an employer must pay 50% of the Ordinary Wage plus the Ordinary Wage for overtime, night and weekend work performed by the employee. Because of the potential for a large unknown future liability, this issue became the most significant issue, in the last few years, among domestic and foreign employers in labor and employment law in Korea. The basic Korean test is

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The Korean Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act of 2018: Korean Insolvency Law Updates

The recently enacted Korean Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act (hereinafter as “CRPA”) focuses on facilitating “…constant corporate restructuring and promotes the stabilization of financial markets and the development of the national economy, by providing for matters necessary to promptly and efficiently implement corporate improvement of enterprises with signs of insolvency.” (Art 1 (Purpose) CRPA). The CRPA is intended to facilitate out-of-Korean-court restructuring procedures. Often, debtors prefer out-of-court proceedings over in-court proceeding, because the belief that out-of-court proceedings shall lead to more flexibility and less costs. In October 2018 a revised version of CRPA 2016 entered into force. The revised CRPA, provides eased legal conditions for creditor banks. The key amendments to Korean CRPA 2018 are noted below. Liability-Exemption for Creditors Acts and Omissions Creditor financial institutions, their officers and employees have liability while restructuring a debtor company. But they shall not be responsible for the results, if they properly fulfilled their

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Korean Data Privacy Act: Need for Compliance Audit for your Korean Company

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) focuses on the data security of personal data of users of the internet. As the EU offers a potentially lucrative market for online businesses for many Korean companies, South Korea was eager to amend its existing Act on the Promotion of IT Network Use and Information Protection of Korea (“Korean Network Act”) based, at least, partially on bench-marking of the EU GDPR. We suggest all companies, doing business in Korea, conduct via a professional in data privacy – a compliance audit. We suggest the professional has an understanding of not, only, Korean Law, but the law of the European Union as it relates to data privacy. Fines and criminal penalties for violation of data privacy laws have increased in Korea. Korean Network ActThe Korean Network Act was amended in December of 2018. Korea, the EU and other nations are in ongoing

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Minimum Wage Raised in Korea for 2020: Employment Law Updates

South Korea has chosen to raise the minimum wage by 2.9% for 2020 to KRW 8,590 (c. USD 7.11).  The Minimum Wage Commission of Korea set the wage at a lower than expected increase because of deteriorating economic conditions in Korea. President Moon’s plan to raise the minimum wage to KRW 10,000 per hour shall fall short, because of, among other things, a slower than expected growth rate and regional geopolitical issues facing Korea.  We shall keep the reader updated when more is known. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

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Korea Amends the Act on the Employment, etc. of Foreign Workers in 2019: Employment Law Updates

Amendment to the Act of the Employment, etc. of Foreign Workers in Korea (hereinafter as “Amendment to the Act of the Employment of Foreign Workers” of Korea) was proposed by the Korean Environment and Labor Committee in December 2018. The focus of the Amendment of the Employment of Foreign Workers is on the improvement of the living conditions of foreign workers at dormitories provided by their companies. Major Changes Due to the Amendment and the Struggles on the Way Addition of Criteria for the Dormitories to the Requirements to Obtain Permission for Hiring Foreign Workers in Korea? The original bill contained the regulation in Art 8 (3) Act of the Employment of Foreign Workers that the criteria for dormitories shall be added to the requirements that employers in Korea must meet in order to receive permission to hire foreign workers, if they – in general – provide dormitories to foreign

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The New Korean In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Act 2020

As proposed in April 2019 by the Korean Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, the Korean In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Act (hereinafter as “Korean In Vitro Act”) intends to, among other things,: “…ensure the safety and quality of in vitro diagnostic medical devices, to strengthen global competitiveness thereof, and furthermore, to contribute to the improvement of public health and the development of vitro diagnostic medical devices, by specifying matters concerning the manufacture, import, management, and support of such devices” (Korean In vitro Act, Purpose). Major Regulations of the Korean In Vitro Act 2020 The Minister of Food and Drug Safety “…shall classify and designate the class of each in vitro diagnostic medical device in conformity with the intended use of each device and differences in their potential risks to individual and/or public health.” If someone intend to manufacture or import in vitro diagnostic medical devices, he or she

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Korean Wills: Korean Estate Law Basics

Like in most jurisdictions, the recognition of a will by a court of law requires precise formalities.  We advise that most people have a will.  For individuals with wills that shall be governed by Korean Law the formalities are noted below.  We have omitted two forms of wills – a will by audio recording and dictation. These types of wills pose issues of authentication of the decadent and we believe it is not advisable – in most cases. Korean Holographic Wills A Holographic will is a handwritten will.  For a holographic will to be enforceable in Korea the will should meet the following formalities: Written by the descendant Dated Signed Note the descendant’s name and address Sealed or contain a thumbprint. Additional details on holographic will may be found at: Korean Holographic Wills  Korean Notarized Wills Will is executed before a Korean notary Two witnesses should be present at the notary

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Exclusion of Japan from Export/Import White List

South Korea is on track toward barring Japan from its export control white list this month, in a blow for blow reaction to Tokyo’s prior choice to expel Seoul from its favored nation trading regime. On July 1, 2019 the Japanese government restricted the export to Korea of three classes of materials: fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride.  These chemicals are utilized in important export-driven manufacturing operations in Korea.  Seemingly, the restriction is in reaction to a Korean Supreme Court case concerning liability of Japanese companies to the Korean victims of WWII sex slavery. Starting in July, the total volume of imports of these three materials remained at $800 billion and represented around 1.8 percent of all imports from Japan. The restrictions have not prompted any imminent problems for Korean manufacturer according to the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. It was announced by the Korean Ministry of Trade,

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