Head of FTC promises a democratic economy

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Head of FTC promises a democratic economy

The chief of Korea’s corporate watchdog said the government will continue to push for economic democratization, stressing that its crux is for people to be paid fairly for the amount of work they do.

One of the key policy objectives for the Moon Jae-in government is ensuring and accelerating economic democratization, a process that calls for stepped-up efforts to create new quality jobs - another key election pledge of Moon - as well as greater support for the socially and economically marginalized population.

“The economic democratization starts with the establishment of a ownership structure which ensures evenly distributed power and managerial responsibility through chaebol reform,” Kim Sang-jo, the chief of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), said at a forum.

The FTC chief has said reforming family-controlled business groups, known as chaebol here, and boosting fair business practices are key to creating a fair society.

Creating a level playing field for small and medium-sized companies is very important in a country where chaebol have dominated the economy for decades, Kim reiterated.

“The government will push for economic democratization, and I promise that the government will continue to communicate with interested parties in the process of going ahead with it,” he said.

Earlier this week, the FTC said the number of conglomerate subsidiaries subject to inter-affiliate trading regulations is expected to triple under a new and tighter asset standard under a proposed revision of the antitrust law.

The revision to the law also bans inter-affiliate trading within a business group whose founding family members hold over 20 percent stakes in both listed and unlisted companies, and over 50 percent in their affiliates.

Currently, a total of 231 business group affiliates are subject to inter-affiliate trading monitoring. Under the new law, the number will exceed 600, the FTC said.

The corporate watchdog said it will also give up its own right to file complaints on some major cases, such as price rigging, in a move to support effective law enforcement and better protect consumers’ rights.

For the last 38 years, the FTC has been the only entity that can bring an antitrust trade case to court through the state prosecutors’ office. The law is aimed at preventing a flood of lawsuits from being filed against firms by individuals and civic groups, which the business community claims could disrupt their normal operations.

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