South Korea's government announced that it will open its accounting market to foreign companies in 2007 in order to attract more foreign investors.

As part of the process, the Ministry of Finance and Economy said that it would overhaul its financial regulations and laws in order to develop its local asset management business and begin the process of opening its stock market. The plan is in response to calls from both local and foreign experts to deregulate the financial market.

The ministry plans to hold a meeting soon with foreign institutions operating in the country to listen to problems. Finance-Economy Minister Han Duck-soo will chair the committee, which will consist of nearly 30 policymakers and financers, including economy-related ministers, vice ministers and heads of private financial institutions.

The ministry plans to hold an international seminar by inviting chief executives of global financial institutions to attract global interests to the Korea Investment Corp., the state-run investment agency. The ministry has also lobbied for the establishment of a Northeast Asian Development Bank, with the goal of improving regional economic cooperation.

The government also plans to establish guidelines to make it easier for Korean financial institutions to participate in merger deals and investment projects in Northeast Asia. The ministry said that during the first half of 2006 it will enact a law intended to facilitate government efforts to make the nation a financial center, as well as launching a task force to provide one-stop service for foreign financial companies looking to enter the market.

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