Friday, 13 March 2009

Human rights watchdog to make life easier for foreign investors


National human rights commission held a policy briefing for foreign investors in Seoul, Thursday (Mar. 12).

The meeting, organized by the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), listened to the difficulties faced by foreign investors and provided them with the government's corporate policy guidelines.
The event was attended by 65 people, including the heads of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea and SIEMENS Korea.

President and CEO of AMCHAM Tami Overby and President of EUCCK Jean Marie Hurtiger, in particular, gave addresses about their business-related difficulties and their impressions of the Korean government's efforts to achieve corporate transparency.

The ACRC briefed the participants on its efforts for foreign investors in the past year since its inauguration (Feb 2008). The commission's public hearing is the second of its kind after the first one in December last year.
ACRC at the gathering explained its achievements in helping foreign investors. At the first hearing in December, the problem of submitting petitions was raised. Foreign registration numbers used to be almost useless when filing petitions with Korean government organizations, because they would accept Korean citizen numbers only.

The commission said it is now reviewing a total of 3,142 petition forms used by 16 government ministries so that the investors can file petitions using their foreign registration numbers. The forms used by investment-related ministries -- Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs, National Tax Service, and Ministry of Public Administration and Security -- will be thoroughly reviewed first, according to the ACRC.
The ACRC also emphasized that physically impaired foreigners are also entitled to use specially-designated parking spaces with the use of a handicapped parking decal on their vehicles. But most expatriates in Korea, including investors, are not aware of this right, the commission added.
To solve this problem, the ACRC said it has asked the Welfare Ministry's cooperation in letting the information reach relevant people. Each and every district office is expected to take proper measures to promote the information sooner rather than later, the commission said.
Through the Q&A session that followed, participants said some measures should be taken to enhance the standard of foreign schools in Korea. They also expressed hope that the human rights commission would continue to provide an ombudsman function for investors in Korea.

Written By James Ro ( Korea.net Staff Writer)

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