On October 8, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Oh-seok presided over a ministerial meeting at Korea Eximbank in Seoul. There, he commented that the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, which was launched on September 29, is an expression of the Chinese government’s strong will to open itself up in the service industry.
“It is very suggestive that China, a socialist country, is abolishing regulations in the service sector to promote open and free competition,” he said, adding, “This means that a serious challenge is coming up for our service industry.” He also stressed that China has recently allowed foreign investors to establish medical institutions on their own, and foreign companies to set up for-profit educational and vocational training institutions in conjunction with Chinese entities.
Under the circumstances, the Deputy Prime Minister claimed that the fourth national policy package for investment promotion, which will be made public before the end of this year, focus on the enhancement of the competitiveness of the local service industry.
In July this year, the government announced the first package, along with policy directions for the service industry. At that time, the announcement included the four principles of infrastructure establishment, the improvement of the competitiveness of promising industry segments, solutions to difficulties on the site, and the resolution of conflicts by way of social agreement. In this way the industry can meet the national employment rate target of 70%, and make a new growth engine for the Korean economy. Still, it did not cover sensitive issues such as permission for the establishment of medical corporations and alleviation of regulations for professional jobs like doctors and lawyers.