MANILA, 13 March 2014 – A Kick-off Workshop on Sector Studies was convened from 11-12 March 2014 in Manila, the Philippines, to promote competition in ASEAN economies. The workshop provided an avenue for representatives from the ASEAN Member States (AMS) to exchange knowledge and experiences on the benefits, challenges and the various approaches of undertaking sector studies.

The participants recognise the importance of sector studies to provide relevant information on existing market structures and conditions, regulatory frameworks and the state of competition of a particular sector. Findings from the sector studies can be used to recommend policy changes or compliance to encourage fair competition for the benefit of both businesses and consumers. Prominent examples of sector studies were drawn from Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Federal Cartel Office of Germany, and the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS).

The availability of data and resources, and difficulties in coordinating with the relevant public and private agencies were amongst the many challenges of conducting the sector studies. These challenges may influence the feasibility of conducting an in-depth study in a particular sector.

Recognising the benefit and the substantive outcomes of the Kick-off Workshop, the participants foresee the importance of continuing to exchange experiences on country-level sector studies. In the future, regional sector studies may be undertaken in sectors of regional interest including aviation, finance, telecommunications and energy. As an output from the discussion, a proposed checklist was developed to guide competition agencies in ASEAN in their decision-making and implementation of sector studies.

The workshop was initiated and supported by the Department of Justice of the Philippines, as the Chair of the ASEAN Expert Group on Competition (AEGC), and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.