A PYMNTS Company

US Chamber of Commerce Raises Concerns Over Korea’s Antitrust Regulations on Big Tech

 |  January 30, 2024

The US Chamber of Commerce has expressed apprehension regarding South Korea’s recent efforts to bolster antitrust regulations targeting Big Tech companies. The move has potential implications for major American tech giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon, as well as domestic players such as Naver and Kakao.

Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, voiced the organization’s concerns in a statement released on Monday. Freeman emphasized the need for transparency in the legislative process, stating, “It is critical that the full text of any proposed legislation be made publicly available, and that the government of Korea provide ample opportunity for engagement with a range of stakeholders, including the American business community and the U.S. government.”

Korea’s antitrust authorities are pushing for the implementation of a new rule, tentatively named the Platform Competition Promotion Act, similar to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. This proposed legislation aims to prevent dominant platform operators, often referred to as “gatekeepers,” from engaging in unfair business practices such as favoring in-house products, cross-selling services with other products, or preventing multi-homing.

Freeman argued that such platform bills are “deeply flawed,” asserting that they put governments in a position where they may violate trade commitments by arbitrarily targeting foreign firms, ultimately hindering market competition.

Read more: South Korea’s Big Tech Regulations Raise National Security Concerns

The European Union defines certain platforms generating over 7.5 billion euros in annual revenue as “gatekeepers” and imposes regulations on their core services in the digital sector.

In response to the concerns raised by the US Chamber of Commerce, Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) released a statement on Tuesday, assuring that it would consider opinions from domestic as well as overseas stakeholders, including those from the United States, when finalizing the details of the bill. The KFTC is expected to draft a legislative proposal for the platform bill as early as next month, engaging in discussions with relevant government agencies and stakeholders.

The KFTC highlighted its ongoing collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AmCham) and disclosed that it had held meetings with the chamber and its members on Jan. 11 and 25. Additionally, the kFTC chairman is set to deliver a presentation on March 7, as per the chamber’s request.

However, in a sign of protest, major platform operators such as Google, Meta, and Apple chose to boycott the latest closed-door meeting, held on Jan. 25 at the chamber’s office in western Seoul.

Source: Korea Joon Gang Daily