Beijing protests to anticipated FTC ruling on shippers on alleged freight rate collusion

2022.05.20 11:33:48 | 2022.05.20 14:09:36

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]

Beijing has protested to anticipated penalties on Chinese shippers ahead of a final ruling by South Korean antitrust authority on its review on past price collusion on East Asia sea route.

According to government sources on Thursday, China’s Ministry of Transport in its letter to the Korean government last month, argued on circumstantial exclusivity of the Korea-China route in complaint over freight fare collusion charge. The letter has been passed onto the Korean foreign ministry, ministry of oceans and fisheries, and Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

Since the letter is confidential, only the primary purpose has been revealed.

A FTC official admitted that the agency has received the letter but emphasized it would not play an important role in its decision, saying it is usual for the regulator to get such a request during the investigation.

The Yellow Sea Liners Committee, which consists of shipping companies of Korea and China, provides liner conferences and other services to cover the trade between the two countries. During an annual conference, its member shipping lines decide route opening and control the shipping volume every year.

The FTC earlier sent its review report to about 20 shippers including Korea Marine Transport, Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung A Line to notify them of its plan to slap a fine for alleged collusions to raise the freight rates for past 17 years. About 11 big and small Chinese shippers have also been subject to the review.

The earlier report did not specify fines that hinge on shippers’ revenue.

The final decision by the FTC will be made on May 31.

By Park Dong-hwan and Lee Ha-yeon

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