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Gov`t Pushes forward with Introducing Liquor Store

Posted December. 28, 2001 09:12,   


The government is pushing forward with a plan to introduce the `liquor store system` next July and to implement the system. According to this system, supermarkets and convenience stores without license cannot sell any kind of liquor including beer and soju.

However, the liquor business circle and the distribution industry, which are concerned about the decrease in sales, are strongly opposing to the plan on the ground of consumers` convenience, and other ministries also show lukewarm attitude toward introducing this system.

The Youth Protection Committee under the Prime Minister`s Office held a meeting yesterday, attended by the related officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the National Tax Service, and explained the plan to introduce the liquor store system.

In the meeting, the Youth Protection Committee requested for forming a committee among ministries to discuss measures, saying "only the liquor stores that have license according to the strict evaluation standard will be allowed to sell liquor to prevent the youth from drinking and to eliminate the excessive drinking culture."

If the liquor store system is introduced, the existing system, by which supermarket, grocery market and convenience store can sell freely after they report to the chief of the tax office in their districts, will be abolished.

The government plans to issue the license if existing stores, which are estimated to be 120,000, want and satisfy certain requirements in the beginning of the enforcement in order to protect the small business stores. Then, it plans to gradually reduce the number of stores to maximum 50,000 by 2004 by strictly applying the conditions, such as facility standard, to establish an antecedent for the cancellation of the license. The liquor stores will not be permitted to be located in proximity of the public facilities including school and hospital, and the youth protection area.

The government originally considered a plan that applies the liquor store system only to the hard liquor with minimum alcohol content of 30 degree and gradually includes alcohol with minimum 5 degree, while excluding beer from the liquor store system. However, considering the competition among the liquor businesses, it decided to include all kinds of alcohol into the liquor store system.

The liquor business circle and the retail business circle are strongly opposing to this saying "this system cannot be accepted since the sales of the small business stores reduce by 20 percent."

Chi-Young Shin higgledy@donga.com