Popular foreign clothing, cosmetics, and watch brands will enter the Korean market on a large scale from March this year at half price. As major discount stores like Walmart, online shopping malls such as Amazon, and local wholesalers are expected to be added to the distribution channels dominated by sole distributors to stoke competition and drop prices to drop in monopolistic markets.
The Yonhap News Agency reported on January 13 that the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and the Korea Customs Service are planning to come up with a plan for the promotion of competition in the sectors, including measures facilitating parallel import. Its purpose is to lower the prices of such imported products by breaking the monopoly in the market.
The government is going to lower the entry barriers associated with customs clearance and certification in this context. Specifically, it alleviates the regulations on parallel importers such as the Tariff Act and the Trademark Act so that more of them can freely compete on equal ground. Most of the measures take the form of revised official announcements of the Korea Customs Service and become effective immediately in March.
In Korea, the retail prices of not a few imported clothes, cosmetics, watches, bags, shoes, and baby goods are twice or three times those in exporting countries. This is because the sole importers and distributors are taking advantage of their position for excessive pricing and parallel importers are tied up in regulations.