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In an increasingly complex business and legal environment, a broad range of transactions will involve issues of antitrust and fair competition law.

Rare among Korean law firms, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC offers a full practice group dedicated to these issues and concerns. Our team of specialized attorneys and analysts regularly provides advice to clients, in many industries, on a variety of issues that arise under Korean laws governing fair competition.

One of the principal sources of law in this area is the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act, which governs business combinations, “collusive” practices, pricing tactics and abuse of market dominance. Our team enjoys a very keen understanding, resting on many years’ experience, of the process of administrative review by the Korean Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”), which administers that Act.

Often clients will need to consider an array of statutes affecting business operations in other ways as well, such laws regulating standard-form contracts, laws regulating subcontracting practices, and fair advertising laws. The BKL antitrust team offers the breadth, as well as depth, of expertise to assist expertly on the full range of legal concerns.

Commonly we advise on, and prepare, business combination reports, which are required for a wide range of investments and business arrangements in Korea. We also assist clients, and coordinate with government offices, in fair competition-related procedures, such as filings for review of standard-form contracts.

As a core area of practice, the team is expert in antitrust litigation and related process. We regularly represent clients in investigative proceedings before the KFTC concerning alleged domestic and international cartel activities, abuse of market dominance, unfair business practices such as refusals to deal, exclusive dealing arrangements, various types of vertical restraints and wrongful advertisements. Our administrative law experts are able to assist in seeking recourse against sanctions and restrictive measures imposed by the antitrust authorities.

We are often called on to help clients in particularly difficult cases, involving points of law that require cutting-edge argument and analysis. In recent years, for example, our team has tackled, for multinational clients, several of the high-profile antitrust investigations in Korea, involving novel questions of market domination and entry barriers in fast-evolving technology.

Separately, BKL is active in legislative review and policy initiatives in competition law. Our practice group plays an active role, for example, in channeling ideas and industry positions to the Fair Trade Commission and other government bodies.
Major Cases
    BKL’s major antitrust work within the past three years has included the following:

    • Representing Nippon Steel and other Japanese steelmakers in opposition to combination between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto (two of the top three seaborne iron ore producers globally), 2008~ present.

    • Represented Korea Telecom in objections to combination between SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom. Persuaded the KFTC to impose significant corrective measures in connection with the combination.

    • Represented Korea Zinc in successful response to claims of abusive pricing of steam supply.

    • Successfully represented three of the largest banks in Korea in KFTC investigation of alleged cartel activities.

    • Advised SK Corp., LG Chemical and other petrochemical firms in KFTC investigation alleging cartel activities.