FTC chief vows collusion crackdown

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FTC chief vows collusion crackdown

Noh Dae-lae, the new chief of the Fair Trade Commission, said yesterday the country’s antitrust agency will jack up the fines for collusion among big companies as part of efforts to tackle unfair behavior by the chaebol.

In a report to President Park Geun-hye on the agency’s goals, Noh said he will make hard efforts to support the government’s “economic democratization” drive, which was a slogan used in Park’s presidential campaign.

“The agency will rebuild its regulatory system to make companies never think of conspiring together in a bid to root out such practices completely,” Noh said. “The new system should slap colluders with larger fines than the profits expected to be gained from the collusion.”

Noh said the agency will adopt a collective lawsuit system to put more pressure on colluding companies. FTC task forces against conspiracies will also be expanded, he added.

In order to support President Park’s economic democratization drive, Noh said he will be targeting internal transactions within conglomerates. “Owner families pursuing their personal interests through internal transactions at major conglomerates are threatening the fair compensation system of the market,” Noh said.

To reduce worries about excess government regulation on businesses, Noh said there is a need to prove wrongdoings clearly, especially regarding involvement of owner families.

Meanwhile, President Park pointed out there are two contrasting views of so-called economic democratization, both wrong.

“The economic democratization initiative is not to control one side, but to correct unfair trade practices to make a market economy where all economic players can earn fairly according to their efforts,” Park said. “Neither excess regulation nor lenient policies help.”


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

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