After a long period of globalization of economy and free trade, the world is seeing the emergence of “nationalism”. Nationalist political parties or movements are on the rise in Europe and the US while trade wars have been declared between economy blocks. In the US, the Trump Administration has increased the protection of the US market against foreign investors (e.g., CFIUS / FIRRMA review) while many European countries have started putting limits on their market to protect “national interests” in certain strategic industries.
How does this latest trend affect the M&A industry?
This session will look at the latest developments in the rules intended to protect national interests in the USA, Europe, and Asia, discuss how they interfere with M&A transactions, and discuss certain contractual protections being used across main jurisdictions.
Rise and Fall of Cryptocurrencies>
2019 marks the year of the JPM Coin issuance, the first token issuance by a major financial institution. 2019 is also the 10th anniversary of the first issuance of the bitcoin. A lot has happened during the past 10 years, including the issuance of other cryptocurrencies following in bitcoin’s footsteps and the birth of cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms that constitute the cryptocurrency ecosystem. With the initial excitement and fear of the unknown subsiding, we are at the crossroads where legislative development can boost or hinder the cryptocurrency economy. In this session, we explore different themes involving cryptocurrency regulations such as the similarities to traditional financial regulations, different jurisdictional requirements that trigger forum shopping, derivatives with crypto-underlyings and ICO trends such as STOs and issuance of stable coins. By exploring these themes, this session provides a meaningful discussion on the dilemmas and pitfalls of existing regulations and the difficulty in striking a balance between technology advancement and investor protection
Trade & Investment into North Korea?
The session will explore various ways to achieve denuclearization and peaceful prosperity in the Korean peninsula, while considering the role of international community therein. Assuming possible opening-up of the North Korean market following or during the denuclearization process, this session will particularly focus on the current status and the modernization of North Korean legal system, as well as legal/practical challenges to foreign lawyers seeking business opportunities in the North Korean market. Given the current level of confidence, or lack thereof, in the political and legal systems of North Korea, key issues will include questions on how investments have been (and/or are) actually made in North Korea from legal and institutional perspectives.
As Korean Chaebols continue to expand and invest abroad, they are facing increasingly difficult tax environments which often lead to substantial and unexpected tax assessments. No doubt that this is triggered in part to by the OECD’s BEPS Action Plans and as well as the various information disclosure rules (FBAR, FATCA, CRS, etc.) that have been enacted over the past decade. However, this could also be due to the perception that Korean Chaebols are cash-rich and easy targets for hungry tax collectors who face enormous fiscal pressures in their countries. Many would agree that the flip-side is certainly the case: more and more Korean subsidiaries and branches of MNCs are being subject to aggressive tax audits by the NTS and tax assessments levied against them have been steadily increasing. Here, too, are the views of many that the amount of tax revenue at stake is simply too large for the Korean tax auditors to ignore.
What should Korean Chaebols and MNCs with Korean investments do in this brave new world of tax disputes and controversies? Is it best resolved at the tax audit level, regardless of the technical merits involved? Should the matter be referred to and handled by the Competent Authority under a Mutual Agreement Proceeding? What are the administrative dispute resolution mechanisms that are available in Korea and foreign jurisdictions? Should arbitration be considered as an option or it is just best to resolve tax controversies through court litigation?
This session will explore the key issues related to handling tax disputes in Korean and in major jurisdictions abroad, including under what circumstances the taxpayer should settle or aggressively defend heavy-handed tax assessments. It will also explore the various procedures and forums available to the taxpayer when a settlement at the tax audit level is not possible. In particular, the panel will explore the importance of tax compliance for handling tax audits as well as gathering information, assembling facts and building evidence which can be used effectively in a dispute resolution forum. Finally, the session will conclude with the panelists sharing some of their effective winning strategies as well as observations on how tax counsel can add value by applying the various legal tools available at their disposal, including discovery, statute of limitations, burden of proof. and (where applicable) attorney-client privilege
Cover the various novel tariff measures initiated by the United States such as the Section 232 (steel, aluminum, uranium, auto) and Section 301 (China IP, EU aircraft subsidies). Then discuss the various retaliatory tariffs imposed by EU, China, etc. This has a WTO implication as well because of all the complaints filed and stalemate caused by U.S.’s refusal to appoint Appellate Body Members.
1430 – 1500
Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
1500 – 1630
Damages Calculations in Intellectual Property Infringement Cases
The panel will explore the type of remedies/damages that are available for IP (patent, trade secret and trademark) infringement in the U.S., Korea and Europe with a focus on enhanced damages for willful infringement/misuse.
International Cooperation in CartelEnforcement
In this globalized world, enforcers around the world are increasingly cooperating with each other to crack down on international cartels. This session discusses the latest trends of international cooperation and its pitfalls for the clients.
From inbound real estate investment perspective into Korea, we still see focus in Seoul and its surrounding areas on investment into office buildings and some logistics center. The challenge is how to compete with local investors, and what other cities besides Seoul can foreign investors invest into and under what tax efficient structures, understanding market trends and practice, maneuvering local regulations and permits/license requirements. From outbound perspective, Korea Capital takes up almost 23% of foreign debt capital investment in the U.S. according to a recent article in 2018 WSJ which makes Korea one of the largest foreign debt investors in the U.S. Korea has also been the largest foreign real estate investor in Germany taking 17% of the investment in 2018, and made a substantive investment in London market in 2018 and other parts of Europe. The trend is continuing and growing, although rising interest rate in the U.S. had caused higher hedge cost internally and uncertainty of BREXIT has caused some “anxiety.”
This session will focus on number of topics:
- What are the tax efficient real estate investment structures available to foreign investor, investing into Korea and their legal and regulatory requirements; - What issues and challenges the speakers have faced in working on a cross-border transactions and how they were resolved; - What are unique requirements that is particular to Korea real estate investment; - What is the most effective legal and tax structure(s) used for Korea institution investors investing into overseas market; - What is the legal regulatory process to invest overseas; - What terms and provisions under PSA or Loan Docs that would be important;
How can Korea law firms better cooperate with foreign law firms to successfully close a transaction.
Corruption, Sustainability & Human Rights in Energy & Natural Resource Projects
A. Corruption : Companies need to implement an effective anti-corruption compliance system to mitigate corruption risks. With implementation of such system, companies will be in much better position to demonstrate its effort to manage such risks. An effective risk mitigation program also should consider corruption risks associated with environmental and social impacts from energy and natural resource projects (e.g., illegal bunkering and artisinal mining represent two examples where social, environmental and corruption risk are intertwined for energy and natural resource projects).
B. Human rights & Sustainability : Energy and natural resource companies often operate in areas with risk of adverse human rights and environmental impacts by nature of the location of oil and gas or mineral reserves. Companies are particularly at risk of association with human rights violations in zones of conflict, in territories with indigenous populations, where land rights are contested or inadequately protected, where project operations have the potential for adverse environmental impacts, or in countries with oppressive or corrupt governments. Ensuring respect of human rights and operational sustainability will help maintain positive relations in areas where a company has a presence or relationships, which will contribute to a more stable and productive business environment and reduced legal and commercial risk.
Protection on Non-Citizens in a World of Hostility
- A huge influx of refugees in Europe and increasing hostility towards non-citizens - With Trump administration in US, there have been a number of restrictive measures on immigrants and refugees - In Japan, people of Korean origin are facing hate speech and harassment - In Korea, with the issue of Yemen refugees in Jeju Island, racism and xenophobia are becoming prevalent. - A lot of overseas Koreans or people of Korean origin, e.g. overseas adoptees face various legal difficulties which need comprehensive legal assistance and sometimes legal or institutional reform.
Exploring the current situations and ways to improve the protection of non-citizens
The role of the court officer (trustee, receiver, administrator, liquidator, monitor, etc.) in an insolvency proceeding is quite important and its duties, powers, and capacity will be different depending on the type of proceeding – Receivership, Bankruptcy or DIP Proceeding. In each case, the court officer can have a different role and/or mandate. In Korea, the DIP Proceeding modeled after US-style Chapter 11 proceedings is relatively new and as such, we will review the role of the court officer in the different types of proceedings, and compare the similarities and differences in other jurisdictions including the US, Canada and other countries, in order to see what role the court officer actually plays in insolvency proceedings. A review of the difference in proceedings from the perspective of the role of the court officer across different jurisdictions can provide insight to practitioners on limitations or benefits to commencing insolvency proceedings in particular jurisdictions, particularly where there may be a choice of forum.
Emerging Legal Challenges brought by New Technologies
In relation to evolving new technologies, such as fintech, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, and big data, lawyers in this area are facing new challenges. Laws around new technologies have not been set up yet. In addition, clients want to pay legal fees with their cryptocurrencies or shares of the company. Lawyers have to deal with issues never have been sought before. Under this environment, the panel will explore how lawyers should deal with these new challenges. Moreover, we will also discuss what responsibilities and duties lawyers have in the new society.
1300 – 1400
Lunch & Networking Picnic Lunch
WHITE COLLAR CRIME / CRIMINAL
Recent Development in Wage and Working Hour Regulation
Korea is notorious for its long working hours. Addressing excessive work hours has been a priority of the current Moon government, and as part of this initiative the National Assembly amended the Labor Standards Act in 2018 to reduce maximum weekly work hours from 68 to 52. This new limit is being phased in over the next few yearsand is accompanied by greater restrictions on the use of extra overtime in certain industries. Businesses are still in the process of adjusting to the new reality and finding ways to get the most productivity out of their workforces under the new regime. The current government’s increased aggressiveness in employment-law enforcement, including wage-and-hour violations, has added to the urgency of dealing with these issues. In this session, we will explore how these changes compare with wage-and-hour developments in other countries, some of which have been moving in the opposite direction towards a less restrictive legal regime.
Attorney’s Role in Multijurisdictional Investigation
With more and more government investigations or internal investigations are conducted among multinational businesses, the precise understanding of counsels’ role and its risks is becoming more important among in house or outside counsels. This session will invited attorney with experiences in various jurisdiction and will listen practical advice which will help corporation and legal counsels in navigating the situation.