Home appliances get price checked

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Home appliances get price checked

The Fair Trade Commission, Korea’s antitrust watchdog, is set to review whether any local importers of European and U.S. small home appliances have intentionally avoided lowering the prices of the goods.

“Many have pointed out that consumers have not fully felt the benefits of the Korea-U.S. and Korea-EU FTAs,” said Chairman Kim Dong-soo of the FTC at a forum hosted by local media yesterday. The trade deal with the EU went into effect last summer and with the U.S. this March.

“If there are any products where consumers have not particularly felt the effect of the FTA, especially in the field of small home appliances, the commission will hold a meeting to check if [importers] have violated the fair trade law.”

He added that the commission will also release information on import and retail prices so that consumers can see the difference. A meeting to finalize the details will be held on Tuesday.

The FTC will “reform the distribution cycle of goods so consumers can benefit from the FTA sooner,” Kim said.

To regulate any unfair commercial activities that can limit consumers’ benefits, the FTC is set to issue a warning to Dutch home appliance maker Philips, according to one local media yesterday. It reported that Philips forced, retailers including department stores and its individual shops, to maintain a certain price level on its products even after the tariff cut.

By Lee Sun-min[summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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