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Asia Pacific – ASEAN Competition Authorities Moving Towards Cross-Border Cooperation.

19 August, 2014

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific

 

A panel of ASEAN competition enforcers speaking on the theme of cross-border cooperation at this year’s GCR Live 3rd Annual Law Leaders Asia- Pacific Conference reported progress in ASEAN cooperation with respect to competition law enforcement.

 

Toh Han Li, Chief Executive of the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”), remarked that the current regional coordination model in ASEAN bore closer resemblance to that in Latin America, which mainly focuses on “developing technical capabilities and guidelines”, than that of the European Competition Network.

 

In particular, the panel envisaged ASEAN cooperation moving forward in three main areas, namely: leniency programmes; cross-border mergers; and the aviation industry (in view of the ASEAN “Open Skies” initiative and the liberalisation of air transport services in the region).

 

In this regard, it was pointed out that most of the merger notifications received by CCS involved cross-border dimensions. Ragunath Kesavan, Commissioner of the Malaysian Competition Commission (“MyCC”) also said that, as a relatively young authority, MyCC’s general approach would be to consult the experience and decisions taken by other enforcers, especially by those in Singapore, the EU and the US.

 

While the panelists also highlighted that several ASEAN competition authorities were negotiating and/or signing cooperation agreements with one another, as well as engaging in informal cooperation through meetings and technical assistance, Geronimo Sy of the Philippines’ Department of Justice noted that it would be more difficult to advance to the next phase of formal and effective cooperation on enforcement or exchanges of information.

 

Although there was general consensus on the discussion of ASEAN cooperation in competition law enforcement, the same could not be said for the issue of ASEAN competition law convergence. Both enforcers and practitioners continued to hold diverging perspectives, with several speakers pointing to the significant differences in legal systems, level of legal infrastructure, as well as economic attitudes towards certain business practices to assert that the European model of convergence may not necessarily be feasible in the ASEAN context, while others maintained the position that ASEAN competition law would fail in the absence of a regional competition law or authority.

 

 Drew & Napier

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Cavinder Bull, Director, Drew & Napier

cavinder.bull@drewnapier.com

 

Chong Kin Lim, Director, Drew & Napier

chongkin.lim@drewnapier.com

 

Scott Clements, Drew & Napier

scott.clements@drewnapier.com

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