Antitrust/Competition Consent Orders in Korea

Late last year the Korean National Assembly passed, along with the Korea-U.S. FTA and related bills, a law that will allow the Fair Trade Commission of Korea (KFTC) to accept consent orders. Consent orders have been a mainstay of most developed economies for decades.

The consent order allows the KFTC to punish without the admission of guilt of the company. This will likely decrease the burden on the KFTC, lead to more efficient enforcement proceedings, speed up M & A deals and also alleviate the burden on companies, while allowing companies doing business in Korea to more adequately gauge the risk of a certain action.

The disposition is similar, in a criminal matter, to a nolo contendere (no contest). The accused accepts the proposed punishment, however, doesn’t admit guilt. Thus, the company may save a little face and time, while the government is alleviated of most of the burden of having to investigate the alleged violation of law.

In order to apply for a “consent order proceeding,” the company involved should apply to the Korean FTC with a statement of the alleged conduct in question and a remedy for the alleged violation of the Korean Antitrust/Competition laws.

I assume any multinational companies involved in any matters concerning the Korean FTC will know enough that they need to hire an experienced international attorney that works with an experienced Korean antitrust lawyer.
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IPG works with one of the leading Korean antitrust attorneys on all matters concerning antitrust/competition and actions by the Korean Fair Trade Commission.

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