SINGAPORE, 13 May 2016 – An ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand Heads of Competition Agencies meeting was convened on 27 April 2016, during the Annual Conference of the International Competition Network (ICN) in Singapore, to exchange experiences and share best practices on the challenges faced in developing and implementing competition laws, amid the growing cross-border dimension among businesses in the region.

This was the first meeting of such level from the 12 partners under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), in which all parties recognised the importance of regional cooperation to promote competition, economic efficiency, and consumer welfare and to curtail anti-competitive practices.

Among the several issues discussed was the importance of building political support, at the national level, to promote a pro-competition environment. At an operational level, there is an immediate need to build the skills and enforcement capacity of the competition agencies.  It was also noted that, as of today, nine ASEAN Member States have already competition laws in placed.

The Meeting also affirmed the significant value that the Competition Law Implementation Programme (CLIP) Phase II, funded by the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP), has brought in addressing some of the challenges faced in the regional cooperation in competition laws.  The Meeting reiterated on the importance for ongoing technical assistance, particularly in  facilitating the institutional set-up of competition authorities and conducting training on case handling, investigations, market studies, and economic analysis.

The Meeting was hosted by Mr Toh Han Li, Chief Executive of the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) and Mr Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The discussions were facilitated by Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC).

This is also the first time that all ASEAN Member States, including the non-ICN members, attended the ICN 2016.  The Toolkit on Competition Advocacy in ASEAN, which was made possible with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), with funding from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, was also launched.