FTC chief vows to continue with chaebol reforms

2018.05.10 16:20:27 | 2018.05.10 16:33:37

Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo (center) speaks with heads of the top 10 business groups.이미지 확대

Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo (center) speaks with heads of the top 10 business groups.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) will stay committed to drawing reforms in the family-run chaebol community but can adjust the speed and scope according to corporate and market conditions, said its chief Kim Sang-jo on Thursday.

The FTC will stay “consistent” in its policy to generate reforms in the ownership and governance style of Korean conglomerates over the next three to five years but vowed not to lose balance, Kim told representatives of the country’s top 10 conglomerates, whose heads have been convicted or offices raided of wrongdoings since President Moon Jae-in took office a year ago.

Kim formerly dubbed “chaebol sniper” is among many recruits from civilian activist groups that had been critical of predatory and clandestine ways of chaebol-run entities in the progressive administration.

The FTC in March formed a special committee to overhaul the antitrust law to promote fair competition and reform business conglomerate regulations. At the same time, it has asked chaebols to voluntarily fix their complex family-run business governance. It plans to draw up the revision on fair trade law by July.

“Conglomerates have implemented changes to improve ownership structure and it is positive that their moves are in accordance with government policies or moreover, stay in line with the expectations from the market and society,” Kim said during the meeting. “I hope their efforts continue on.”

Still, he pressed large companies to do more in stopping the practice of keeping businesses amongst their umbrella to help generate symbiotic growth of small and mid-sized companies.

“Work funneling practices within a conglomerate not only makes the market unfair but also harms growth,” said Kim. “The society will not tolerate it anymore.”

Thursday’s meeting was the third of its kind since Kim’s inauguration in May 2017. Representatives of Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, Lotte, GS, Hanwha, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Shinsegae, Doosan attended the meeting.

By Seok Min-soo and Cho Jeehyun

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