SEOUL, KOREA – Two presidential candidates, Geun-hye Park, ruling party president hopeful, and Jae-in Moon, of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) show similar yet different approach to fair trade issues. Fair trade has emerged as an important issue in Korea, along with improvement in conglomerates’ ownership structure and economic democracy. Park put more emphasis on a ‘fair market,’ while Moon argues that ‘improvement of large companies’ corporate business’ should take precedent. Park saw economic democracy as ‘two wheels’ which should be run along with growth, and highlights the importance of abolishing unfair trading practices. It represents that if there is no growth, there can be no economic democracy as well. Also, setting up short-term measures and mid-term growth plans for economic crises is as important as economic democracy. On the other hand, Moon put more emphasis on ‘reformation of conglomerates’ than on ‘strengthening fair trade’. He implied that for the last five years, conglomerates have taken everything, while the life of ordinary citizens has become tougher, increasing income polarization.
However, both candidates agreed on some details. They both agree that economic democracy comes from strengthening fair trade by controlling major shareholders’ pursuing their own interests, and preventing large companies’ abusing their market power, and economic power through collusion. Both pledged to abolish KFTC’s exclusive right to accuse in order to improve relevant legal enforcement and reinforce punishment of fair trade violation. The exclusive right to accuse, implemented in 1980, is a system in which fair trade violations such as misuse of positions through collusion and market power can only be prosecuted when KFTC reports the practices. If KFTC does not report unfair trading practices, prosecution cannot deal with it. It is difficult even for the persons damaged as they are not able to file a lawsuit. It has been said that the exclusive right to accuse works to protect the interests of large companies.
More related stories: