Gov’t to monitor prices of goods from FTA areas

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Gov’t to monitor prices of goods from FTA areas

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance will crack down on unfair practices in the domestic distribution of imported goods to maximize the benefits of free trade agreements, it said.

Minister Bahk Jae-wan said at a meeting yesterday the government will closely monitor import and retail prices of products most frequently used by consumers.

The statement was a warning to importers and retailers suspected of squeezing excessive profits out of Korea’s complicated distribution process after import prices fall as a result of free trade pacts, like the ones in force with Europe and Chile. Such practices have been blamed for counteracting the government’s efforts to tame inflation.

“The country needs to use the FTAs to the fullest in order to change the country’s economic paradigm for the better,” the finance minister said.

For agricultural and cattle products, Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation will post prices at Smart Consumer, a consumer information Web site is has run since January. The smart consumer network will be available through mobile applications. Each month, Korea Customs Service will announce import prices of 31 kinds of agricultural, cattle and fisheries products.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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