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Gov’t to Promote Traditional Liquor Industry

Posted August. 04, 2009 08:58,   


The government will devise policies to preserve traditional Korean liquor, which has almost disappeared from the domestic scene.

Regulation on traditional liquor came a century ago in the form of the Liquor Tax Law, but the government will deregulate traditional liquor and promote it on the global market.

A high-ranking official said yesterday, “For the first time, the government will set up a legal system under which traditional Korean liquor will be nurtured as an industry. The Strategy and Finance Ministry, the Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, and the National Tax Service will cooperate to create measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the traditional liquor industry.

The government also seeks to end turf battles among agencies that have stood in the way of the sector’s growth. The tax agency and Finance Ministry will continue to deal with the Liquor Tax Law, which covers the tax rate, licensing and safety of liquor.

Tasked with fostering the industry is the Food Ministry, which has long been at odds against the tax office over management of the sector. The ministry says it should get full responsibility of managing the industry but the tax office says the sector should be subject to the Liquor Tax Law system.

Deregulation is seen as the key to raising the competitiveness of the traditional liquor industry. To this end, the government will tentatively establish the Act on Promotion of the Traditional Liquor Industry and discuss law revision if necessary.

According to the Enforcement Decree of the Liquor Tax Law, licenses to brew traditional liquor are given to breweries with “gukshil (a fermentation room)” of six square meters or larger and “damgeumsil (liquor brewing facility where raw ingredients are mixed with water)” of 10 square meters or larger.

Under the decree, traditional liquor made by small farms and villages without legitimate facilities is considered illegal. Through deregulation, the government wants to nurture traditional liquor breweries.

Liberalization of liquor distribution is also under consideration. Consumers now can only buy up to 50 bottles of traditional liquor per person at post offices.

achim@donga.com sublime@donga.com