(LEAD) S. Korean firms should gird for foreign antitrust rules: minister
SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies need to step up efforts to prepare for foreign antitrust rules if they want to avoid unnecessary penalties stemming from their lack of understanding of overseas markets, the nation's top economic policy maker said Wednesday.
"When a growing number of countries are applying their antitrust regulations even to punish foreign businesses for cartel activities, our companies need to make extra efforts not to violate those rules," Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun said in a meeting with other key policymakers.
"A violation could directly affect not only our economy but also our global competitiveness and credibility in overseas markets," he added.
Turning to domestic issues, Yoon also emphasized the importance of establishing a "fair" business relationship between small and large companies, saying that they need to think about "partnership" in the era of global competition.
His remarks are in line with claims that some large companies engage in unfair business practices such as demanding excessive price cuts from suppliers or stealing technologies developed by smaller companies by abusing their upper-hand market power.
Driven by an economic recovery, large companies are posting stellar earnings, but Yoon said the improved conditions have "failed to trickle down" to the overall small- and medium-sized business community due to such unfair relationships.
"Large and smaller firms need to keep in mind that a partnership will help their win-win success given that a company cannot survive on its own in a globalized market," Yoon said.