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Fair Trade Commission in S. Korea Proposes Changes to Conglomerate Regulations, Including Standards for Foreign CEOs

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unsplash

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) of South Korea has announced its plans to develop standards for designating foreign heads of major Korean conglomerates.

On June 26, at the Presidential Office in Yongsan, Seoul, Fair Trade Commission President Seok-Yeol Yoon reported on plans for the system for conglomerates, which is one of the Fair Trade Commission’s main tasks this year.

The plan comes after the recent appointment of Bom Kim, CEO of Coupang Inc and a U.S. citizen, to head a prominent Korean conglomerate.

As cases involving foreigners or dual citizens with the same spouse or 2nd and 3rd generations increase, the FTC is trying to streamline its overall policies for large conglomerates after the political environment changes.

In addition to developing standards for assessing the same person, including foreigners, and guidelines for amendment procedures, the FTC also plans to link the corporate group subject to disclosure, currently set at KRW 5 trillion or more in total assets, to gross domestic product (GDP) or raise the standard amount.

The standard of “KRW 5 trillion” had not changed since 2009, when the relevant law was enacted, but it was pointed out that the size of the economy is increasing.

The number of business groups subject to disclosure has increased excessively.

The FTC also plans to strictly enforce the law against unfair insider trading by companies and review the actual condition of financial products that may become problematic.

In the first half of this year, the ‘Guidelines for the Examination of Private Interests’ will also be revised to correct the standards for assessing the unfairness of private interests of the owning family and the grounds for exemptions from applying the rules.

In addition, a policy network of academics, lawyers, and stakeholders will be formed in February to find tasks to streamline the conglomerate system.

This way, the direction of medium- to long-term development under the Fair Trade Law will be discussed, such as the separation of banking and commerce and the holding company system.

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