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[KH Biz Forum] Korea to prepare delicate legal push to keep e-commerce market fair

FTC Vice Chairman Kim Jae-shin offers overview of Korea’s regulations on growing platform businesses

Kim Jae-shin, vice chairperson of the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea, speaks during The Korea Herald Biz Forum held at The Shilla, Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Kim Jae-shin, vice chairperson of the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea, speaks during The Korea Herald Biz Forum held at The Shilla, Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)


Kim Jae-shin, vice chairperson of the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea, said legislation regarding the growing platform businesses would continue to evolve to secure fair trade and competition during the Korea Herald Biz Forum held Tuesday.

Kim said the new legislation regarding the ecommerce market would be introduced in South Korea as the market was rapidly expanding, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a previous report by the government, the e-commerce transactions, which amounted to 25.2 trillion won in 2010, has grown to 135.3 trillion won in 2019. In the first half of 2020, online shopping purchases reached 74.3 trillion won.

Speaking during the forum, held under the tagline of “Contact less, connect more” at The Shilla, Seoul, Kim said the laws regarding the e-commerce market needed to change, as many parties have become involved in an increasing number of online transactions.

”The existing laws cannot fully cover complex relations among sellers, customers and platform operators.”

The new legislation will aim to secure benefits for customers and small-sized businesses that sell services and products via online platforms, he said. Rules regarding contracts between online platforms and merchants, for instance, will be strengthened to prevent unfair practices.

Platform operators that violate the new laws regarding contracts could also face fines up to 1 billion won.

The FTC will introduce legislation that could prevent large-scale platform operators from monopolizing the e-commerce market, he said. The upcoming legislation will also allow the antitrust agency to look into mergers and acquisitions that hinder fair competition in the market.

”The FTC here would carefully watch unfair business practices in the e-commerce market as large-sized platform operators could easily stay ahead of startups and other firms that try to newly enter the online markets,“ Kim said.

Kim added the FTC plans to introduce the anti-monopoly legislation by July next year.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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