5/08/2012

Fines by the Korea Fair Trade Commission Increases for Abuse of Market Position and Unfair Trade Practices in Korea

The Fair Trade Commission of Korea has implemented substantial amendments to its guidelines for imposing fines on companies doing business in Korea.  The Amendments were detailed in a document the Fair Trade Commission of Korea calls the "Amendment Notice."  This Amendment Notice comes into effect on April 1 of 2012.

The Amendment Notice will likely increase the fines imposed by the Fair Trade Commission.   Prior to the Amendment Notice violations of the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act would result in lower fines than that authorized by Korean Monopoly Law.  The change will, likely, substantially increase the fines.

INCREASE IN FINES FOR UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICE AND ABUSE OF DOMINANCE IN MARKET

The Amendment Notice will likely increase fines for Abuse of a Companies Dominant Market Position in Korea from 2 % to 3% of revenues earned because of the violation.  Additionally,the fine will be increased from 1% to 2% of the revenue earned because of violation of the catch-all unfair trade practice prohibition.

AGGRAVATION OF FINES FOR OBSTRUCTION OF INVESTIGATIONS

The fine may be increased by 40% for the physical obstruction of an on-site investigation through violence or use of force; 30% increase for obstructing an on-site inspection through concealing, destroying or falsifying records; and 20% increase for other acts of obstruction.  Multiple violations based on the same facts may, additionally, lead to an increase in the fine by 20%. 

Korea's Fair Trade Commission has been very aggressive in its enforcement of Korea's Antitrust laws and it is advisable to have an attorney conduct a compliance audit to determine and assist in mediating your risk of an investigation, fine and criminal punishment for violation of Korea's Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act and related laws.

Additionally posts on Korea's Antitrust/Competition law may be found at:
Sean Hayes, IPG's Co-Chair of the Korea Practice Team, may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com