South Korea rings in New Year with new laws
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South Korea rings in New Year with new laws

First original article in Korean is at this link.

In 2013 restaurants in Seoul will have to disclose the “final price”, including value-added tax and service charges, on their menus.

This is meant to eliminate the problem of customers ordering food based on menu prices but then being charged based on various taxes.

The city will apply the “final price representation system” (최종 지불가격 표시제) to all food service companies, including restaurants and coffee shops, beginning January 1st.

Also, restaurants serving meat must display the prices in units per 100 grams of meat to enable easy comparisons by consumers, and must also display per-person prices.

According to the revisions to regulations on food hygiene which went into effect on December 31, certain prices must be visible even before customers enter the business, under the “outside price display system” (옥외가격표시제).

The outside price display system applies to regular and rest-style restaurants of at least 150 square meters (approximately 45 pyeong), comprising 11% or over 1,500 of Seoul restaurants.

The outside price display must include the final prices of at least five menu items and be posted at entrances so as not to violate the ordinance.

The city has said that, to ensure the outside price display system is properly complied with, it plans to send inspectors to restaurants through March to inform them of the system and that beginning May 1st businesses who do not observe the ordinance will be subject to administrative measures.

Businesses found not displaying the outside prices will receive warnings on the first offense and a seven-day suspension of business if caught again.

Accordingly, the city explained that its web site will include information on how to display the outside prices without harming the city’s aesthetics or burdening businesses.

Kim Gyeong-ho, head of health and welfare for the city, said that “we expect these systems will protect consumer’s rights to know and will induce price competition among businesses, increasing convenience for all consumers.”

Second original article in Korean is at this link.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries announced on December 27 that, nationwide, pets must be registered with animal organizations chosen by local civic organizations beginning January 1.

The measure is intended to increase the responsibility exercised by pet owners and prevent pets from being abandoned, and originally began in seven cities and provinces in 2008.

In 2011 96,000 pers were abandoned, nearly quadruple the 25,000 in 2003, and the associated costs exceeded 8.785 billion won.

The registration system is applicable to all dogs kept as pets for at least three months.

Animal hospitals and organizations chosen by local cities, counties, and boroughs may choose registration via internal microchipping, external microchipping, or a collar label.

Areas with populations of 10,000 or less, including cities and rural and farming communities, will be exempted from the registration system.

Fines of 40,000 won will apply to pets found to be unregistered. Enforcement will begin in the first half of 2013.

The Ministry expects that the nationwide extension of the pet registration system will reduce cases of animal abandonment, and prevent cases of disease and rabies.