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National Assembly hosts first forum on online liquor sales

Nov. 10, 2023 - 17:58 By Moon Ki Hoon
Rep. Choi Seung-Jae of the People Power Party (center right) and Asia Pacific International Spirts and Wines Alliance Chair Vijay S. Subramaniam (center left) are pictured with forum participants at the “National Assembly Discussion Forum on Invigorating E-Commerce”, held at the National Assembly Library in Seoul on Friday.

Korea's National Assembly on Friday took a significant step in addressing the evolving landscape of liquor sales with its inaugural "National Assembly Discussion Forum on Invigorating e-Commerce for Liquor."

Hosted by Rep. Choi Seung-Jae of the People Power Party and organized by the Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance, the event marked the first-ever discussion in the National Assembly on the topic of online liquor sales, attracting attention from both domestic and international bodies.

In his opening address, Rep. Choi stressed the need for well-defined policies in the post-pandemic liquor market, noting that it is "crucial to adapt our alcohol consumption culture to the rapidly growing e-commerce industry."

People Power Party Chairman Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, floor leader Rep. Yun Jae-ok, National Assembly Strategy and Finance Committee Chair Rep. Kim Sang-hoon, and Policy Steering Committee Chief Rep. Yu Eui-dong also offered remarks of support.

Echoing the sentiment, APISWA Chair Vijay S. Subramaniam expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts in hosting the forum.

"This event represents a concerted effort to forge a safe and responsible e-commerce landscape," Subramaniam said.

The presentation session commenced with Embrain Managing Director Kim SG's briefing on a public opinion survey, which shed light on current alcohol consumption trends in Korea. The survey of 1,000 monthly alcohol consumers in Korea revealed that 51% of respondents support online liquor sales, with support jumping to 68% if adequate underage drinking prevention measures are implemented.

The session was followed by presentations from Hwang Sung-Pil of the National Assembly Research Service on regulatory hurdles and from Kim Min-wook, CEO of Dailyshot, on the potential benefits of e-commerce for the liquor industry.

Adding an international perspective, Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive Mark Kent shared successful case studies of online liquor sales from markets around the globe. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking also took part in the forum, addressing underage drinking prevention measures in online sales.

The subsequent panel discussion, moderated by Professor Kim Sung-soo from Hanyang University, featured viewpoints from experts across various sectors on balancing consumer benefits, public health and industry interests. Shim Jae Sik from the Fair Trade Commission, Lee Wan-hee from the Excise Tax Division at the National Tax Service, Cho Seong-hyun from Online Shopping Association, Three Societies Founder Bryan Do and Lee Choong-hwan from the Gyeonggi Merchant Association contributed to the discourse.

Concluding the event, participants agreed on the importance of a well-defined approach to online liquor sales. A significant step by APISWA in fostering a sustainable and competitive liquor industry, Friday’s forum sets the stage for more in-depth discussions and fruitful policy developments in Korea's evolving liquor market.