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Foreign Investment Ombudsman

The Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman helps foreign-invested companies overcome
obstacles in the course of doing business in Korea.

About the Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman (OFIO)

The Office of the Foreign Investment Ombudsman, which was established in 1999, aims to resolve the grievances of foreign-invested companies operating in Korea.
The Foreign Investment Ombudsman is commissioned by the President of the Republic of Korea and the OFIO operates a "Home Doctor" system under which specialists from various fields, such as finance, accounting, law, industrial sites, taxation, law etc., provide foreign-invested companies one-on-one service by investigating and resolving a wide range of grievances in the most efficient and effective manner.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation have praised Korea’s Foreign Investment Ombudsman system as being an effective way to prevent investor-state disputes. Many countries are interested in benchmarking Korea’s Foreign Investment Ombudsman system, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Vietnam. With years of grievance resolution expertise  cases, the OFIO works to prevent problems and improve Korea’s investment environment.

Organization
  • President / CEO of KOTRA
    • Foreign Investor Support Center
      • Investment Consulting Center(Investment Consulting Center : Investment Aftercare Division)
        • Foreign investment one-stop service
          Early stage investment consultation / support to settle in Korea
        • Investment consulting services provided by the government officials in KOTRA(investment related matters)
          Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Government Legislation, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea Customs Service, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Ministry of Justice, National Tax Service, local governments and related organizations
  • Foreign Investment Ombudsman
    • Investment Aftercare Division(Investment Aftercare Division : Investment Consulting Center)
      • Resolving grievances of foreign-invested companies (:Investment consulting services provided by the government officials in KOTRA (investment related matters) )
        • On-site visits by the home doctors and receiving the grievances of foreign-invested companies
        • Provide business management related consulting services
        • Recommend policy improvement to the government
        • Request policy review to relevant government
      • Resolved cases
        Taxation, legal affairs, industrial sites, finance, foreign exchange, visa, labor and other matters
Grievance resolution process
  1. Find grievances of foreign-invested companies
    • Meeting with related organizations
      • AMCHAM
      • ECCK
      • Seoul Japan Club
      • Local governments / FEZ
    • Find grievances
      • Study investment environment
      • Study cases of major countries
      • Conduct analysis and find grievances
      • Review ways to resolve the grievances
    • Request from foreign-invested companies
      • On-site visits by Home Doctors
      • One-on-one consultations
      • Meetings with foreign-invested companies
  2. Handle cases by designating Home Doctors, carrying out feasibility study and reviewing relevant laws
    • Consultations with relevant foreign-invested companies
    • Discuss with related organizations
    • government and recommend system
  3. Resolve grievances through amendments of relevant laws and administrative support

* Grievance resolution cases ’14: 437 cases → Grievance resolution cases ’15: 451 cases (On-site visits : 704 cases)

Home Doctor service

Home Doctors are the executive consultants of the Investment Aftercare Division overseen by Foreign Investment Ombudsman

  • A total of 10 Home Doctors: Legal affairs (2),
    finance (2), tax (1), accounting (1), industrial
    sites (1), HR·labor management (1), IT &
    intellectual property rights (1), bio(1)

  • Home Doctors visit foreign-invested companies and resolve their grievances

Home Doctor Hot-Line
&
On-Site Visits

  • A Home Doctor will be responsible for each local government and foreign-invested company, a Hot-Line between a Home Doctor, local government and foreign-invested company will be built to resolve grievances.

  • On-site consultations will be available under request (Including Jeju Island / at any time)
Resolved grievances of foreign companies (2003-2015)
2003 Number of 269
2004 Number of 324
2005 Number of 351
2006 Number of 353
2007 Number of 370
2008 Number of 353
2009 Number of 365
2010 Number of 385
2011 Number of 403
2012 Number of 348
2013 Number of 383
2014 Number of 437