U.S. ‘encourages’ S. Korea to allow time for feedback on proposed online platform rules: senior official

A senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday that the United States has "encouraged" South Korea to allow "all stakeholders" to have time to offer feedback on Seoul's proposed rules designed to tighten oversight over market-dominant online platform businesses to ensure fair competition. Jose Fernandez, under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, made the remarks after U.S. business circles publicly opposed Seoul's push for the legislation amid speculation it could affect U.S. online operators, including Apple and Google. "We haven't seen at the U.S. Embassy (in Seoul) a draft of the proposed legislation. So we can't speculate on its contents," he said at an online briefing hosted by the State Department's Asia Pacific Media Hub. "What we have done is encourage the government of the Republic of Korea to ensure that all stakeholders have the time and the opportunity to provide feedback," he added. Apparently mindful of brewing tensions over the proposed rules, Fernandez put the issu e in a broader context of bilateral cooperation that the allies have made over thorny issues like those concerning the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Chips Act. "We made it clear on the part of the IRA and the Chips Act that we knew that they have concerns, that we were prepared to discuss them as partners, as friends because we could not achieve our clean energy goals or supply chain goals alone. We needed to do it in a partnership," he said. "That translates into the platform act as well. We are partners. We engage. We receive their comments. They provide comments. ... So that's what we intend to do with the platform act." On Monday, Charles Freeman, senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued a statement opposing Seoul's push for the rules, stressing it is critical that the Seoul government provide "ample opportunity for engagement with a range of stakeholders, including the American business community and the U.S. government." Fernandez visited Seoul earlier this week to attend the Senior Economic Dialogue, an annual diplomatic economic dialogue. His visit there was part of a three-nation trip that included stops in Vietnam and the Philippines. Source: Yonhap News Agency