On the 22nd, the Fair Trade Commission held an academic discussion jointly held with the Korea Corporate Governance Service (KCGS) under the theme of ‘Policy direction for large conglomerates after the Fair Trade Act was completely amended’. Chairman Kim is the chairman and CEO of Coupang Inc., an American holding company with Coupang Korea as a subsidiary. He actually controls Coupang in Korea, but he has not been designated as a US citizen.
The designation of the same person is a term introduced from 1986, when the regulation of large corporations was introduced, and is the basis for the regulation of the exploitation of private interests, such as unfair support and profit provision by large corporations, as stipulated in the Fair Trade Act. In addition, the obligation to submit for disclosure and regulations on business combinations are all affected by the same person.
Most of the relevant law experts who attended the debate did not see any problem with the designation of Chairman Kim, who is of Korean descent, as the same person.
Professor Shin Young-su, a professor at Kyungpook National University Law School, who announced on ‘Issues related to the same person in large corporations and ways to improve them’ “The objective conditions are established to exercise control,” he said.
Seong-Yong Kim, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University Law School, also said, “Even if the top ruler is a foreigner, there is no need to treat it differently. It is difficult to understand why the domestic influencers are being regulated because they are foreigners.” Also, like Coupang, the Saudi state-owned Aramco, a silver parent company that does not designate the same person, owns several companies, but Coupang Inc controls only Coupang in Korea, so the situation is different.
Park Sang-in, a professor at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Administration, also said, “It is incomprehensible that the FTC did not designate a natural person named Kim Beom-seok as the same person. They did not follow the method that the Fair Trade Commission had done. Also, if Chairman Shin Dong-bin suddenly renounces Korean citizenship and acquires Japanese citizenship, will he fall out of the same person?”
On the other hand, Kim Woo-jin, a professor at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Business, said that Kim Beom-seok’s designation of the same person was not very important. As Coupang is already a listed company in the United States, he argued that if Chairman Kim took advantage of his own interests, he could be sufficiently punished under the US Company Act.
The head of the Corporate Group Policy Division of the Fair Trade Commission, who is in charge of designating the same person, said that the Coupang incident would create a standard for the designation of the same person for foreign nationals.
Seong said, “I will think more about the issue of the same person as a foreigner. Lotte has been talked about, but Chairman Shin Dong-bin is a Korean citizen, but his children have Japanese citizenship. said.
He added, “Since the (foreigner same-person problem) is a problem caused by Coupang this year, we will come to a conclusion in some form so that foreigners can follow a consistent principle.”
Meanwhile, Fair Trade Commissioner Jo Sung-wook, who attended the event, delivered a congratulatory speech, saying, “In order for large conglomerates, the big tree of the economy, to become leaders in the global competition, they should not follow the old practices of the past as first movers. It is time to make bold improvements and transform into a company with transparent governance and inclusive and creative leadership. way,” he said.
He continued, “We will listen to the opinions discussed today and actively reflect them in the policy process in the future.” He added.
The discussion was held without spectators in accordance with the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines and was broadcast live on YouTube (Fair Trade Commission TV).