Photo provided by Fair Trade Commission
Kim Sang-jo, a chaebol critic who was seated as the new head of the Fair Trade Commission through executive presidential order amid delayed legislative confirmation said on Wednesday that the antitrust watchdog will not rush with reforming the chaebol establishments as such process must be done based on thorough study and reason.
“I passed along a message to the president and his secretaries yesterday that chaebol reform cannot be done swiftly like prosecutorial reform,” Kim told reporters after his inauguration on Wednesday.
President Moon Jae-in risked a confrontation with the opposition camp that raised ethical questions about Kim and his family by commanding him to start work without legislative blessing. Legally, the appointment of a fair trade commissioner does not require legislative approval.
“I had said before that [when it comes to chaebol reform] it would be less efficient to look into top 30 conglomerates under uniform criteria. Just because I had finger-pointed to the top four does not mean they will all come under scrutiny,” he said.
Recruitment of critics of family-run chaebol establishment in senior offices under the new administration has raised concerns about dampened corporate activities at a time corporate investment has been making recovery.
Kim reiterated that the fair trade watchdog will endeavor to level the playing field out for smaller players and clamp down on unfair and domineering practices by big players.
He said that the antitrust agency in other developed countries do not intervene if there is no particular reason to do so as business to business deals are based on unconstrained, private contracts between equal parties. Such premise does not stand in Korea, Kim added.
Because the laws and systems are lacking, FTC must do it rightful referee role to ensure a fair market, he said.
When it comes to controversial issues and policies, Kim said the agency would tap wider opinions with experts and lawmakers.
By Na Hyun-joon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]