Korea-U.S. Agree in Two More Areas in FTA

Chosun Ilbo Korea, U.S. Make Headway Toward FTA Korean and U.S. trade negotiators reached agreement on the customs and government procurement at their eighth round of bilateral free trade talks, which is under way in Seoul. Including antitrust measures, where the two sides agreed Thursday, they have now concluded negotiations in three out of 19 areas under discussion. By concluding deals in the less critical sectors first, they have been able to move faster in trade negotiations toward complete conclusion in all fields. But thorny issues like agricultural market and auto taxes remain a stumbling block, and the two sides plan to settle them in two rounds of high-level negotiations after this round wraps up. Korean top negotiator Kim Jong-hoon told reporters on Sunday, the fourth day of talks, that Korea’s attempt to protect its agricultural market and the U.S.’ demand that Korea change its car tax regime based on

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Secretary General of Con. Court Retires

So Sang Hong, Secretary General of the Constitutional Court, retired after serving the Court for six years and his nation for over 30 years as judge. He will serve as a practicing lawyer upon his retirement. Mr. So is known for his generosity, passion for law and his nation, intellectual honesty, and a keen awareness of the role of Constitutional Law in Korean society. I wish him a hardy good luck and hope he continues his contribution to this nation through his practice of law. [email protected] (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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U.S. Report on S. Korean Human Rights

The U.S. published its annual report on Human Rights. The report is on Human Rights in S. Korea is generally favorable, with only a few concerns. The U.S. major concerns were: 1. The National Security Law2. Limitations on the freedom of speech3. Violent protests4. Discrimation Against Women, Minorities, Foreigners etc.5. Prostitution and the Increase in Korean men going abroad to purchase sex6. Mistreatment of foreign spouses7. Human Trafficing8. Breach of contract by employers of foreign English teachers [email protected] (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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Song DooHwan Nominated to Con. Court

Song DooHwan was choosen by President Roh on March 2, 2007 to replace retiring Constitutional Court Justice Choo Sun-Hoe. Justice Choo’s term expires at the end of March. Mr. Song is the Representative Partner of Hankyul Law Firm. He graduated from SNU in 1971, the Judicial Research Institute in 1982, was a Judge from 1982 to 1990, Executive Director of the Korean Bar Association from 1996 to 1997, and Independent Counsel in the infamous Remittance of funds to North Korea case in 2003. His expertise in law, according to his firms website, is with commercial transactions and civil litigation. [email protected] (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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New divorce law for N.K. defectors

The Korea Herald reported on March 2, 2007 that N.K. defectors will be able to receive divorces from their N.K spouses. The new law will help clear the way for defectors to divorce spouses still residing in the North. North Korean defectors will be able to obtain court approval to divorce spouses not residing in the South, as a new law came into effect Tuesday. The Seoul Family Court said yesterday it will expedite legal proceedings for 223 pending divorce cases filed by North Korean refugees living in South Korea. Existing family law stipulates that an individual seeking divorce must undergo court arbitration with the couple in attendance. The government revised the Protection and Resettlement for North Korean Defectors Act on Jan. 26 to plug the loophole. A special provision has been added to the law, allowing the court to proceed with divorce cases only if the petitioner proves that

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Korea Audit Board to Audit FTA Negotiations

According to a report in the Donga Ilbo on Feb. 27, 2007 the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) will audit ongoing Korean-US FTA negotiations. Seemingly, the BAI intends to assuage inter-minister disagreements. The Chairman of the BAI is Jeon Yun-churl, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MOFE during the Korea-Chile FTA negotiations. Chairman Jeon is considered to have been very instrumental in pushing through the Chile FTA.  A brief excerpt of the story appears below.  IPG Legal is engaged in projects for clients in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam and the United States.  The Korea Practice Team may be contacted at: [email protected] www.ipglegal.com _________ Audit Board Will Look Over FTA Negotiations FEBRUARY 27, 2007 Donga Ilbo (TRANSLATION) The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea (BAI) has decided to audit the ongoing Korea-US (KORUS) FTA negotiations by implementing a monitoring system. With regard to the

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Constitutional Revision Bill Delayed

A Chong Wa Dae spokesman announced on Feb. 26, 2007 that the Constitutional Revision Bill will be delayed until late in March due to “technical problems.” The technical problems mentioned by the Blue House include difficulty in finding a solution to the possible occurrence of a vacancy in office. Many believe that the “technical problems” are simply a cover for the problem of lack of widespread support for the revision. On Jan. 9, 2007 Roh suggested, among other changes, that the current five-year, single-term presidential system be replaced with a four-year renewable term. [email protected] (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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Prosecutor with cancer ‘only doing her job’

Korea Herald Feb. 26, 2007 Jin Hye-won, a 32-year-old prosecutor, has been the focus of media attention after it was revealed that she worked around the clock despite having brain cancer. The prosecutor with the Seoul Northern District Prosecutors’ Office underwent an operation to remove the tumor on Jan. 24, just two days before an appellant court sentenced the defendant in the case to eight months in prison and two years of probation. The defendant had originally been acquitted last July due to a lack of evidence. “I’ve never seen a prosecutor like her who is so devoted and enthusiastic,” said senior prosecutor Ha Yoon-hong, her boss. “I hope she gets well soon.” After she lost the first trial last year, Jin was meant to transfer to an investigation bureau at the office, but she insisted on staying put as a trial prosecutor and pursued the case. She appealed the

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Lobbying to Be Legalized

Korea Times Feb. 23, 2007 By Kim RahnStaff Reporter In an effort to root out bribery, the government is considering revising the law on lobbying. Lobbying is currently illegal in Korea because it is associated with bribes. According to the plan proposed in a report submitted by Justice Minister Kim Sung-ho to President Roh Moo-hyun, lobbyists will be asked to register and to report their activities to the government. “Legalizing lobbyists is a part of efforts to boost trust and transparency in the policymaking process, as lobbying has been done under-the-table so far and usually involved bribery. The law is expected to prevent corruption,’’ Kim said. The ministry has organized a committee of 12 legal professionals to study the lobbying systems of other countries. In other developments, the government said it would take a firm attitude toward unlawful collective action. It has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Government

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Sailing into the winds of change

My Yacht Club was featured in the Joongang Daily. Sailing into the winds of change Joong ang Ilbo February 23, 2007 Harold Shim, right, aboard a 21-foot trimaran on the Han River in Seoul with members and guests of the 700 Yacht Club. In 1965, as an 11-year-old immigrant to the United States, Harold Shim found himself with his brother and sister living with an adoptive family on Wrangell Island in southeastern Alaska. His adoptive parents were teachers, who did a little fishing on the side, and Shim learned to fish and earn candy money by harvesting cheek meat from halibut heads at the local fish processing plant. Because he and his siblings were the only Koreans on the island and his adopted family spoke English, Shim’s native language became rusty with disuse, but that wouldn’t stop him from returning to work in Korea as an adult.When he reached high

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Judge Urges Chief Justice to Resign

Donga Ilbo Feb. 21, 2007 A presiding judge called for an explanation from Supreme Court chief justice Lee Yong-hoon, questioning his morality. He blames the chief justice for distrust in legal community, most recently proven in crossbow attack on a senior high-court judge. Jung Young-jin, presiding judge at the Seoul Central District Court, posted a paper on the court’s local area network (LAN) titled, “Urge the Chief Justice to Explain His Course of Action with respect to the Crossbow Attack.” In the paper, he said, “His unscrupulous behavior including tax evasion while he was a lawyer led to the current distrust of the legal circle.” He in effect called for his voluntary resignation, saying that, “Unless the allegation is cleared, he should make a decision on his position. Even though he may be cleared, his position will seriously burden people in legal community and general public alike unless the charges

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Go for 2-Term Presidency

Appeared in Korea Times on 01-31-2007 Dear Prof. Sean Hayes: An issue that has suddenly been proposed by President Roh Moohyun is the amendment of the Constitution to give the future president a four-year one-time renewable term and also to align the presidential election with the National Assembly elections. Currently, the president has a five-year non-renewable term and the presidential election is not held on the same date as the National Assembly elections, since Assemblypersons have four-year terms. Is Roh’s proposal worth trying? Proud Korean citizen Dear Proud: The system of two four-year renewable terms was proposed to lessen the cost of elections by aligning the dates of elections; to keep government policy consistent by allowing presidents the possibility of an eight-year term; to help eliminate the present system’s lameduck year; and for a variety of other reasons. Whether it is a good idea or not may depend on your

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