How to Invest in Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs): Korean Market Entry

Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs) are specially designated areas designed to improve the business and living environments for foreign firms looking to invest in Korea. In 2003, Korea’s very first KFEZ was launched in Incheon following the passing of the adoption of the “Act on Designation and Management of the Free Economic Zones.” Since then an additional seven have begun operation, bringing the grand total of KFEZs in Korea to eight. Companies with business in KFEZs are eligible for tax credits and other incentives under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act (FIPA). FIPA’s recent amendments passed in 2019 to provide better analysis on FDI impact on the Korean economy. For an article on this issue please: Revision to Korea’s Foreign Investment Promotion Act. As shown above, there are KFEZs operating in Incheon, Busan-Jinhae, Gwangyang Bay Area, Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Saemangeum-Gunsan, the Yellow Sea Coastal Area, and in Chungbuk. Each FEZ focuses on attracting

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Korean Arbitration: An Introduction

Korean Arbitration has come a long way since the ratification of the New York Convention in 1973. The Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) went from a small organization handling a handful of cases to, now, and organization handling hundred of arbitration cases each year. The number of international arbitrations is, also, on the rise. This article shall give readers the backstory of how Korean arbitration as a dispute mechanism tool has developed over the years in Korea; review the key industries involved in arbitration; and provide a quick overview of the mainstay arbitration institution in Korea: the KCAB. 1973 – 2020: Arbitration in Korea Over the Years The Korea Arbitration Act was enacted into law in 1966. The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, aka the “New York Arbitration Convention” or “New York Convention,” is the Magna Carta of international arbitration. The New Arbitration Convention was

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Challenging an Arbitrator at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board

In our last post we discussed, at length, the benefits of arbitration in Korea over litigation in a Korean court. We shall be updating the reader of numerous issues related to arbitration over the next couple of weeks. The following posts concerns challenging of an arbitrator at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board. Thus, what happens in a situation when you, as a party in a Korean arbitration, feel that the arbitrator is acting in a manner inconsistent with his or her duties as an arbitrator? At a minimum, all arbitrator should be “independent and impartial” and “capable” – the vast majority of arbitrators are independent, impartial and capable. However, issues can sometimes arise that require the challenging of the arbitrator – we suggest proceeding with caution and care – an unsuccessful challenge can, of course, prejudize your case. Impartiality/Independence of an Arbitrator in Korea Korean Law lays out the duties

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Korea Due Diligence for Joint Ventures, Licensing, OEMs and Buying a Korean Company

Intending to execute a joint venture agreement with a Korean company? Buying a Korean company? Licensing technology to a Korean company? OEM with a Korean supplier? Selling to a Korean company?Before going to bed with a Korean company (or individual) do a little due diligence.  The motivation for this article is an article by my friends over at the China Law Blog. Due diligence in Korea is not much different than due diligence in China.  However, don’t forget what is said below: “get someone who truly knows what he or she is doing” to assist with the due diligence.  We see too many Korean lawyers and Korean business professionals with a lot of ego, but little on-the-ground high-level Korean experience or an inability to think strategically and proactively.  The few great due diligence professionals in Korea are, typically, not found easily at the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms, because of issues

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The Case for Arbitration over Litigation in Korea

Many of you are prospectively weighing the options of executing contracts with and without arbitration clauses in Korean contracts (aka setting yourself up for prospective litigation battles in Korean courts or resolving a dispute in Korea with the help of an arbitration panel). Thus, this article is intended to consider the option of arbitration over litigation in Korea. In most cases, IPG recommends arbitration over litigation for expat companies doing business in Korea and/or with Korean companies. While of course every case is unique, we at IPG have found great success over the years fighting for our clients amidst the backdrop of arbitration. Our Korean International Arbitration Team was, recently, ranked the top Dispute Resolution Firm in Korea. Benefits of Korean Arbitration over Litigation in Korean Courts Language: If you are not a native to Korea, there is a high chance that you do not speak the Korean language fluently

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IPG Korea Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year

IPG’s Korean Office was awarded the distinction as the Korea Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the year by a well-known international business journal in the United Kingdom. The journal is known for producing tailored news and guides for multinational companies doing business in Asia, North America and Europe. IPG is thrilled that, based on feedback from a survey, our frankness, street-smart advice, non-conflicted advocacy and efficiencies created by a cutting-edge case management system was highly appreciated by our clients. For a consultation with an attorney in Korea please: Contact IPG. (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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Korean Arbitration Basics: Links to Relevant Resources in Korea.

IPG, over the next couple of weeks, shall be updating readers of the The Korean Law Blog on issues concerning arbitration in Korea and against Korean companies. We have posted over a dozen articles to date. We shall be posting more article on arbitration over the next couple of weeks. This present post is simply a few arbitration-related links in Korea. We shall be updating this list when more useful and credible information is available. Korean Arbitration Links Korean Commercial Arbitration Board Korean Arbitration Act Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center Korea Medical Dispute Meditation & Arbitration Center Articles on Korean Arbitration (Korean Law Blog) Substantive quality information on arbitration, in Korea, is not easily obtainable in English (and even in Korean), thus, we here at IPG felt the need to share more information on Korean arbitration. If anyone has any topics that are of interest, please Contact Us. We plan

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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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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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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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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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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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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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