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How New Year’s Day Changed Post Kim Young-ran Act
[381호] 2017년 02월 10일 (금) Reporter Kang Min-seok nedraw22@
   
The Improper Solicitation and Graft Law, also known as Kim Young-ran Act, went into effect on Sep. 28, 2016. Both positive views and negative views coexisted about the influence of Kim Young-ran Act. People who were critical about Kim Young-ran Act concerned about decrease of gift consumption, because Kim Young-ran Act restricted gifts that cost over 50,000 KRW among government employees, teachers, and journalists. Especially, gift set sales around Korean traditional holidays such as New Year’s Day were expected to drop by significant amount.
According to the poll conducted by Jobkorea, 58.8% of companies decided not to give gifts to their accounts. Two major reasons why companies gave up exchanging gifts were economic depression and Kim Young-ran Act. This proved that Kim Young-ran Act actually changed the deep-rooted custom in Korea.
The effect of Kim Young-ran Law directly appeared with changes in gift set sales. According to Nonghyup Hanaro Mart, sales of New Year’s Day gift sets that cost over 30,000 KRW and below 50,000 increased by 14.1% from 10.4 billion KRW to 11.8 billion KRW compared to last year. However, New Year’s Day gift set sales that cost over 50,000 KRW decreased by 21.5% from 17.5 billion KRW to 13.8 billion KRW, which is a significant drop compared to last year. In regards to these changes in sales, Nonghyup officials mentioned that Kim Young-ran Act also forced retailing companies to put more effort in plan and design New Year’s Day gift sets that cost lower than 50,000 KRW.
Not only the Kim Young-ran Act, but economic depression and inflation also made a large impact on New Year’s Day economy. Consumers had to bear much more burden to spend for New Year’s Day compared to normal year, which is also shown in decrease of overall sales of gift sets. Especially, price of livestock products and agricultural products sharply increased due to various reasons. Price of Korean beef has increased by 30% compared to last year due to decreased number of domestic cattle and foot-and-mouth disease. Also, price of apple, which is one of typical New Year’s Day fruits, has increased by 10% compared to last year because of poor growth caused by abnormal climate. Egg price also increased because of Avian Influenza (AI), 30 eggs costing over 8,000 KRW.
Because of Kim Young-ran Act and inflation of certain items, overall consumption in this year’s New Year’s Day decreased compared to last year. People who oppose the restriction of Kim Young-ran Act argue that excessive restriction shrinks consumer sentiment. However, still sales of gift sets that cost over 50,000 KRW exceeds gift sets that cost below 50,000 KRW. Also, various unfavorable factors without Kim Young-ran Act has also affected the overall depression in this year’s New Year’s Day economy, which makes hard to point out the reason of consumption decrease.
Retail companies and people involved in agricultural industry are arguing that the regulation of Kim Young-ran Act needs to be eased, but national mood is not positive among the revision. While debates are ongoing, revised plan that removes regulation around Korean traditional holidays such as New Year’s Day and Chuseok is being discussed by the National Assembly.
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