Ministerial Meeting on Prices
At the Ministerial Meeting on Prices held on July 13, Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk Jaewan mainly discussed ways to reinforce the stability of aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation) agricultural products’ supply and demand, the current status, results and plans moving forward for supplying consumer information, and ways to stabilize vacation season summer resort prices. Taking into consideration increasing costs of production due to rising oil prices and the accumulation of state-owned enterprise deficits, the necessity for modifying public utility charges was raised.
In order to stabilize both the supply and demand and price of agricultural products, the government and aT will regulate supply and demand by stockpiling 8% of the domestic consumption of storable items such as chili peppers and garlic and greatly reduce distribution costs by managing cyber accounts, which will cut out distributors. Going forward, the ministry plans to strengthen the supply and demand management functionality of the aT to prepare for supply and demand-related anxieties due to the abnormal changes in weather. Emergency import items will be expanded*, and exceptions to standard sales procedures will be reviewed, such as easing the burden of contract deposits. The inquiry into imported agricultural product distribution information will be strengthened and purchase reservations via cyber accounts will be expanded**.
*The aT will emergency import required food stuffs and livestock products
**Group purchase organizations and producer distributor reservation accounts will be mediated in order to steadily maintain annual supply prices
In order to increase consumer choices, the government has been expanding the supply of consumer information for items that are tied to the livelihood of citizens. Beginning in March of this year, the government has been publishing the K-consumer reports series to provide comparative information, such as price and quality by product, for a total of 5 items, including hiking shoes. The K-consumer reports, from its first publication, have had a great reverberation.
The government will work together with consumer organizations to provide in-depth information about prices by distributor, gaps in foreign and domestic prices, and distribution structures for items that have price distortion doubts and do not reflect any effects from FTAs. The government will continue to make efforts to supply credible information in order to help consumers make rational choices.
According to a Ministry of Culture survey, half of Korean citizens will leave on vacation and spend 880,000 won when the regular holiday season begins after the rainy season ends. Through an inspection organization led by private groups,*** unfair business practices and sanitary conditions will be checked and in major resort cities, such as Busan and Taean, report centers will be set up.
***Consumer organizations, municipal organizations and related agencies (police, merchant organizations)