2016년 4월 2일 토요일

Proposed Amendments to FX Laws and Regulations in Korea

On March 15, 2016, the Korean government passed amendments to the Enforcement Decree of the Foreign Exchange Transaction Law (the FETL) and the Foreign Exchange Transaction Regulations.  Generally, these amendments aim to (i) strengthen the regulatory reporting requirement for capital transactions, (ii) allow non-banking financial institutions to engage in a wider scope of foreign exchange business than in the past, and (iii) foster the FinTech industry by permitting FinTech business operators to transfer foreign currency in small amounts. The amendments are expected to be promulgated this March and will take effect immediately upon promulgation. 

 

Separately, the Korean government promulgated, on March 2, 2016, an amendment to the FETL that lowers the severity of sanctions for violating the reporting requirement for carrying foreign cash in and out of Korea, and this amendment will be in force from June 2, 2016.

 

The following summarizes major aspects of the amendments to the foreign exchange laws and regulations:

 

1.     Strengthening the Regulatory Reporting Requirement for Capital Transactions by Lowering the Violation Threshold Amount That Can Trigger Criminal Sanctions (Amendment to Article 40, Item 2 of the Enforcement Decree of the FETL)

 

Currently, if a person fails to file a regulatory report for a capital transaction, which amount exceeds KRW 5 billion, the person is subject to  certain criminal sanctions stipulated under the FETL.  The amendment lowers this threshold amount for criminal sanctions from KRW 5 billion to KRW 1 billion.  Accordingly, the amendment will bring more capital transactions into the ambit of criminal prosecution, if the requisite report is not filed.  In view of the foregoing, it would be advisable for companies engaging in certain capital transactions triggering reporting obligations under the FETL to pay particularly close attention to ensure full compliance therewith. 

 

2.     Allowing Non-Banking Financial Institutions to Engage in a Wider Scope of Foreign Exchange Business Than in the Past by Reforming the Regulatory Framework from a PositiveApproach to a Negative Approach (Amendment to Article 14 of the Enforcement Decree of the FETL)

 

Even if there is a market demand for specific foreign exchange business, non-banking financial institutions, such as securities and insurance companies, cannot currently conduct such foreign exchange business, unless the foreign exchange laws and regulations explicitly permit them to do so.  The amendment will change this regulatory framework dramatically in such a way the non-banking financial institutions can conduct any foreign exchange business even if they are not explicitly permitted to do so under the foreign exchange laws and regulations. 

 

However, they will still be prohibited from conducting some foreign exchange business, such as conducting incoming or outgoing foreign exchange transfers or receiving foreign currency deposits.

 

Once the amendment takes effect, it is expected that the non-banking financial institutions would be able to expand their foreign exchange business to a new level.

 

3.     Fostering the FinTech Industry by Permitting Transfer of Small Foreign Currency Amounts by FinTechBusiness Operators

 

Up until now, transfer of foreign currency must be made only through banks in Korea.  The amendment, however, will permit FinTech business operators to provide such transfer service.  In order to do so, the FinTech business operators must be duly licensed, and the licensing requirements will include, without limitation, having the minimum equity capital of KRW 300 million, installing appropriate IT systems in place, and entering into a partnership arrangement with a bank. 

 

Based on the amendment, the licensedFinTech business operators can transfer up to USD 3,000 per transaction and USD 20,000 per year for each customer. 

 

When the Fin-Tech business operators newly enter the foreign currency transfer market, fees charged to customers for the foreign currency transfer service are expected to fall. 

 

4.     Exempting Failure to Report Carrying a Small Amount of Foreign Cash In and Out of Korea from Criminal Sanctions (Amendments to Article 29, Paragraph 1, Item 7 and Article 32, Paragraph 1, Item 3-2 of the FETL)

 

Under the FETL, if a person carrying foreign currency cash in excess of USD 10,000 fails to file a report, the person is subject to criminal sanctions, such as imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a criminal fine of up to KRW 100million. However, there has been a view that this penalty scheme creates too many ordinary citizens with a criminal record.  In light of such view, the amendment will keep the criminal sanctions from applying to the extent that the concerned foreign cash does not exceed a new amount to be set forth in the Presidential Decree. Under the amendment, the Presidential Decree will stipulate the threshold amount above USD 20,000. 

 

Please note that even if the criminal sanctions will cease to apply, an administrative fine of up to KRW 50 million will continue to apply if a person does not report his/her carrying of foreign currency cash in excess of USD 10,000. 

 



자본거래 신고의무를 강화하고 非은행금융사의 외국환업무 취급범위를 확대하는 내용을 골자로 하는 외국환거래법 시행령 및 외국환거래규정 개정안이 지난2016 3 15일 국무회의를 통과하여 확정되었습니다이번 개정안은 3월 중으로 공포되어 즉시 시행될 것으로 예상됩니다이와 별도로 외화휴대 반ㆍ출입 신고의무 위반에 대한 처벌 수준을 낮춘 외국환거래법 개정안이 2016. 3. 2. 공포되어 2016. 6. 2.부터 시행될 예정입니다.

 

이번에 개정된 외국환거래법령 개정안의 주요 내용은아래와 같습니다.

 

1.   형사처벌 기준금액 하향조정을 통한 자본거래 신고의무의 강화 (시행령 40 2)

 

개정 외국환거래법 시행령은 외국환거래법상자본거래 신고의무 위반시 형사처벌의 대상이되는 기준금액을 현행 50억원에서 10억원으로 하향 조정함으로써 형사처벌의 대상을 확대하였습니다이에 따라 개정 법령 시행일 이후10억원이 넘는 자본거래에 대하여 외국환거래법상 필요한 신고를 하지 아니하면 과태료가아닌 형사처벌을 받게 됩니다따라서 향후 자본거래 신고의무의 준수에 각별한 주의가 필요합니다.

 

2.   네거티브 규제방식 도입을 통한 은행금융사의 외국환업무범위 확대 (시행령 14)

 

종래 증권보험 등 非은행금융사의 경우 새로운 외환업무 수요가 있다고 하더라도 외국환거래법령에서 이를 명시적으로 허용하기 전에는해당 업무를 영위할 수 없었습니다하지만 이번 개정을 통하여 非은행금융사의 외국환업무취급범위 규정방식이 포지티브 방식에서 네거티브 방식으로 전환됨에 따라해당 업권별 母法에서 허용된 업무와 직접 관련된 외국환 업무는 일부 예외(대한민국과 외국과의 지급ㆍ수령외화예금 등)를 제외하고 별도 허용 규정없이도 곧바로 영위할 수 있게 되었습니다이러한 개정을 통해 非은행금융사의 외국환업무범위가 획기적으로 확대될 것으로 예상됩니다.

 

3.   핀테크 산업 활성화를 위한 소액 외화이체업 허용

 

지금까지는 은행을 통해서만 가능했던 외화이체가 앞으로는 핀테크 사업자를 통해서도 가능해집니다개정 법령에 따르면일정한 자본금(3억원 이상), 전산설비 등의 요건을 갖추고은행과 업무협약을 체결한 핀테크 사업자들에대하여 소액외화이체업을 허용해주었습니다.이에 따라 앞으로는 소액외화이체업자를 통해인당 건별 3천불 이내연간 2만불 이내에서외화이체가 가능해졌습니다핀테크사업자 등을 통한 소액 외화이체가 가능하게 됨에 따라이체수수료 부담이 줄어들 것으로 예상됩니다.

 

4.   외화휴대반출입 미신고 금액이 소액인 경우 형사처벌 대상에서 제외 (외국환거래법29 1 732 1 3호의2)

 

종래 외국환거래법은 미화 1만불을 초과하는외화 등을 신고 없이 반입 반출할 경우 형사처벌(1년 이하의 징역 또는 1억원 이하의 벌금)을 하도록 규정하고 있었습니다이와 같은 규제로 범법자가 양산된다는 문제에 따라 이번에개정된 외국환거래법에서는 미화 2만불 이상의 범위에서 대통령령으로 정하는 금액 이하인경우에 대해서는 형사처벌의 대상에서 제외하였습니다그러나 이로써 처벌이 완전히 면제되는 것이 아니라 미화 1만을 초과하는 경우과태료(5천만원 이하)의 처벌을 받게 되므로주의를 기울일 필요가 있겠습니다.

 

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