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Deregulations can offset side effects of corporate tax hike: finance minister

Aug. 24, 2017 - 09:37 By Yonhap
South Korea's finance chief said Wednesday that the government will examine steps to ease regulations to help offset the negative side effects of a looming corporate tax hike.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon made the comments during a session of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts in parliament when asked about the possible fallout from more taxes on employment and growth.

Still, Kim did not elaborate on deregulations. South Korea has been pushing to lift or ease unnecessary business restrictions to create jobs and reinvigorate Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon speaks during the parliamentary Special Committee on Budget and Accounts session on Aug. 23, 2017. (Yonhap)

The government has recently unveiled a tax revision plan that would impose a corporate tax of 25 percent on businesses with taxable income of 200 billion won ($176 million) or more. Companies with income in the 20 to 200 billion won range will be subject to the current rate of 22 percent.

The proposed tax revision -- which is subject to parliamentary approval-- is part of President Moon Jae-in's efforts to help fund increased welfare spending and carry out his key agenda that is estimated to cost 178 trillion won ($156 billion).

The plan for a corporate tax hike has been thrown into doubt, as Moon's ruling Democratic Party holds only 120 seats in the 299-member parliament. It means that the ruling party cannot pass a bill without cooperation from opposition parties.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party, which holds 107 seats, has said a hike in corporate taxes is a nonstarter, noting it could weaken corporate competitiveness and eventually reduce jobs.

Big companies have also expressed concerns that a tax hike would increase their burdens, which in turn could undermine their investments and competitiveness. (Yonhap)