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E-Mart gas station plan faces opposition

A group of gas station owners has decided to file a petition with the Korean government against retailer E-Mart’s plan to open a new gas station in the city of Gunsan. The move follows similar actions small- and medium-sized supermarkets and bookstores have taken to block expansion plans by the country’s conglomerates. E-Mart, Korea’s top retailer owned by conglomerate Shinsegae, planned to open a self-service gas station in the city of Gunsan earlier this year, selling gasoline at 100 won (US$0.08) per liter cheaper than nearby filling stations. But in May, the city government, concerned about the impact this would have on existing service stations, asked E-Mart to delay its opening to this year-end. Gas station operators in the southwestern city remain steadfastly opposed to E-Mart’s entry into the market, saying it will threaten their survival. The Korea Oil Station Association (KOSA), a group of gas station operators, will submit a petition against E-Mart’s move to the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business next week, its officials said. (August 13, 2009)