South Korea's corporate watchdog said Tuesday that it has decided to give up its own right to file complaints about some major cases such as price rigging in a move to support effective law enforcement and better protect consumers' rights.
Under the current Fair Trade Act, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is 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 being filed against firms by individuals and civic groups, which the business community claims could hurt their normal operations.
FTC Chairman Kim Sang-jo, a renowned former civic activist, has constantly vowed to change the rule as part of the watchdog's key policy goal of establishing fairer market competition and shared growth between conglomerates and smaller businesses.
Under the agreement with the Justice Ministry, the FTC's exclusive complaint rights against unfair acts such as price rigging, bidding collusion and market division will be scrapped.
"Such collusions are anti-society acts that hurt consumers," Kim said. "We need to take stern measures against such behavior."
The corporate watchdog will handle general antitrust cases, while the ministry will investigate major cases that have far-reaching impacts on the economy and society as a whole.
There has been persistent criticism that the FTC has been too reluctant to exercise its exclusive right to deal with antitrust activities. (yonhap)