At a recent ECCK meeting, Ji Chul-ho, the Vice Chairman of Korea’s antitrust regulator- the KFTC, asserted that international companies doing business in Korea may face requests from the KFTC to review any international contracts or agreements they have with Korean companies. Ji said the KFTC expected to find instances of unfair contract clauses in international agreements including contracts from online based companies and pharmaceuticals suppliers.
This announcement brings back previous measures that the KFTC had used in the past to review suspected unfair international agreements and contracts as set out in the Korea Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act, or the MRFTA. In the past, under the MRFTA, the KFTC reviewed international agreements and restricted the implementation of unfair contract clauses. The law was initially implemented to protect Korean companies against unfair contracts with foreign companies, but this practice has remained dormant for many years as Korean businesses saw it as preventing international technology transfers between foreign firms and local companies.
As I have written before, Korea’s antitrust regulator, the KFTC is becoming increasingly aggressive and is targeting multinationals. For more information on the KFTC’s enforcement trends, please see my blog Korean 2019 Antitrust & Competition Law Reform Trends” at: Seoullegalriskmgmt.com