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KFTC Clears Ice Cream Manufacturers and Third-Party Distributors of Alleged Cartel to Restrict Sales Channels


On July 25, 2023, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC”) closed its investigation into allegations that three local ice cream manufacturers and their third-party distributors violated the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Law (the “FTL”) by unfairly colluding to restrict promotion to certain retailers and issued a “no violation” decision.

The investigation was a follow-up to an earlier case where the KFTC had found a cartel among local ice cream manufacturers as well as among the manufacturers and certain distributors in Busan, Korea. After imposing sanctions regarding that case, the KFTC investigated whether there had been similar collusions outside of the Busan region and whether the companies had continued the illegal conduct after the sanctions were imposed.

Representing one of the ice cream manufacturers from early on in the investigation, Kim & Chang successfully persuaded the KFTC that the conduct in question did not constitute “unfair collusive conduct” considering the distribution structure and sales practices in the industry. As a result, the KFTC concluded that there was no evidence supporting the allegations and issued a “no violation” decision.