More South Korean firms filed lawsuits against the country's fair trade watchdog in 2012 from five years earlier, data showed Friday, in an apparent bid to slash imposed fines amid tightening rules.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) faced 60 rows last year involving its corrective measures levied on local firms, accounting for 13.3 percent of 448 cases of such orders, its report submitted to parliament showed.
The number marks a near two-fold growth from the 6.8 percent tallied in 2007, the data also showed.
The FTC attributed the increase to the rising amount of fines slapped on violators. Its penalty imposed on the firms came to 510 billion won (US$476.1 million) in 2012, rising sharply from 264.6 billion won tallied in 2008.
"Local companies are protesting against the FTC's decision on the back of support from large-sized law firms specializing in fair trade affairs," Rep. Sung Wan-jong said. "The FTC must bolster its capability to tackle such rows."
The FTC has lost 79 lawsuits between 2008-2012, returning around 65.7 billion won fines to the companies that pressed charges.