The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

eBay agrees to fair online trade

By 이지윤

Published : July 14, 2011 - 19:10

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The nation’s antitrust watchdog and eBay Inc. signed Thursday an agreement for fair trade in the growing online ecommerce market ― the first of its kind here.

The U.S.-based company, which owns Gmarket and Auction, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 online marketplaces, will adopt a “Consumer Complaints Management System” to better protect consumer rights, the Fair Trade Commission said.

The agreement came amid growing concern over the powerful market dominance of eBay, which is already a global leader in the sector.

The company currently holds 72 percent of the online ecommerce market here. Gmarket and Auction recently got approval for merger from the FTC.

In line with the agreement signed Thursday, the antitrust regulator also declared its 14 billion ($13 million) investment project to create a healthy environment for the online ecommerce market, or the so-called “open market.”

A special compliance program will monitor unfair trade cases on a regular basis and toughen punishment for those involved in such practices.

Financial support will be offered to the merchants in traditional markets and small- and medium-sized offline retailers in order to strengthen their competitiveness.

Ecommerce business owners also will be advised and educated in their cross-border transactions.

“Considering the characteristics of the open market, we thought it would be impossible to crack down individual unfair practices in a traditional way. So, we have decided to build a new mechanism to control potential problems,” an FTC official said.

The FTC said another agreement with SK Telecom’s open market operator 11st was also under way and would be reached as early as end of August.

By Lee Ji-yoon(jylee@heraldcorp.com)