A press conference to urge the National Assembly to pass the law regulating SSMs in October
Small merchants, civic organizations, and opposition party lawmakers held a press conference to urge the National Assembly to pass the law regulating SSMs in October
As opposition by the Lee administration and the ruling party is delaying the passage of legislations regulating SSMs(Super Supermarket: so-called Distribution Act and the Win-win Act) at the National Assembly, neighborhood business districts have rapidly collapsed and threatened the livelihood of small merchants. In particular, as the passage of the amended Win-win Act has been postponed, which clearly states the inclusion of chained SSMs as the subjects regulated, major distribution companies are opening their affiliate SSMs in a competitive manner. However, the administration and the ruling party continue changing their policy about when to pass the law of SSMs, aggravating hardships among small merchants. Both the senior executives of the Grand National Party(GNP) and the Democratic Party(DP) held a meeting on September 7 and agreed to make efforts to pass two laws at the National Assembly plenary session on October 25. However, recently the administration and the ruling party have changed their stances, insisting a separate handling for the passage. On this, small and middle sized merchants and civic organizations, together with lawmakers from five opposition parties held a joint press conference in front of the National Assembly today (22th), calling on the government and the ruling party to keep their promise to simultaneously pass the two laws at the National Assembly plenary session in October.
So far, the Lee administration and the ruling party have been arguing that the guidelines of the Win-win Act, once complemented, can be as effective as a revision of law, on the pretext of possible contravention of the WTO and the Korea-US FTA prescriptions. This is a flat lie: a shallow trick intended to block the passage of the Win-win Act. In terms of international conventions, there is no difference among legislations, guidelines and administrative behaviors. Therefore, if a revision of a legislation is problematic as the administration argues, changes in guidelines could be controversial also. In addition, the government (the Small and Medium Business Administration) issued guidelines last year, proclaiming that SSMs affiliated with large distribution companies are not included into the subjects regulated. Also, it made an authoritative interpretation matching the guidelines of the government last January, based on the recommendations by the Korea Legal Aid Corporation. Accordingly, by expressing the intention to amend the guidelines, the ruling party admits it made a mistake in making the authoritative interpretation in January. Besides, to amend the guidelines is illegal.
In addition, legal experts repeatedly pointed out that legislations regulating SSMs are not in contravention of the service and trade stipulations of the WTO. In the end, the Lee administration and the ruling party are lying with the intent to interrupt the passage of the Win-win Act on the pretext of WTO and FTA prescriptions. Furthermore, the ruling party, which pledged to pass the Win-win Act once the Korea-EU FTA is formally signed, has recently changed its policy to pass the Act once the Korea-EU FTA is ratified by the EU Parliament. However, since the Korea-EU FTA is planned to tentatively enter into force starting from July 1 next year, both the Korea and EU Parliaments are expected to complete the FTA ratification by June next year, with the agreement fully going into effect two to three years afterwards. Accordingly, the passage of the Win-win Act should be indefinitely delayed if it follows what the government argues about.
On this, small and medium-sized merchants and civic organization, along with lawmakers from five opposition parties held a press conference today to call on the ruling party to pass two legislations regulating SSMs on October 25 as agreed by the senior executives of both of the ruling and opposition parties on September 7th. without being swayed by the government,
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