“The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is accused of being biased and vindictive toward foreign companies, making them reluctant to invest more in Korea,” Park Si-soo reports for The Korea Times. “Executives from foreign investment companies argue that the regulator often appears to have reached its own conclusions before it begins any investigations. They feel that FTC probes are not balanced and end up stigmatizing non-Korean firms as ‘villains,’ thus reshaping the industrial ecosystem to give more benefits to ‘homegrown’ enterprises. Information technology companies with great influence on the domestic market are most vulnerable to such practices, they said.”
“These complaints flared up after President Park Geun-hye pressed state bodies, including the FTC, to come up with ways of attracting as much direct foreign investment (FDI) as possible in a bid to revitalize the sagging economy. The government aims to draw $20 billion this year, up 5.3 percent from last year’s $19 billion,” Park reports. “‘Whether the government is consistent and balanced in applying rules is one of the most important factors we consider ahead of making a decision on investment,’ said a foreign investment company executive. ‘Sadly, Korea doesn’t get a high score in this category.’ She asked not to be identified because of fear of retribution against her firm by the FTC.”
In a survey of 201 foreign investment companies in Korea last year, 33 percent of them cited ‘inconsistent state policy’ as the primary reason for being hesitant to make new investment in Korea, said the Korea Chamber of Commerce that conducted the survey. In another survey released last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Korea was ranked 133rd out of 144 countries in the category of transparency within government decision-making,” Park reports. “The FTC recently said it would tighten monitoring of global IT giants throughout this year, apparently targeting Google, Apple and Facebook, to stave off their possible abuse of power using their dominant position in the market. To that end, the regulator set up a special task force dedicated to the ICT sector comprising experts and veteran investigators.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: South Korea makes China look uncorrupted.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]
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