The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), through the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC), has established the ASEAN Competition Enforcers’ Network (ACEN) to facilitate cooperation in competition cases in the region and to serve as a platform for handling cross-border cases.
ACEN aims to enable mutual understanding of the ASEAN member states’ enforcement goals and objectives and encourage information sharing between ASEAN competition authorities. The ACEN will also look into facilitating cooperation on mergers and acquisitions with a cross-border dimension.
Competition enforcement in ASEAN has also been further strengthened with the formation of the Lao Competition Commission and Myanmar Competition Commission.
ACEN held its first meeting on October 9, 2018 on the sidelines of the 22nd AEGC Meeting, which was hosted by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) from October 8 to 10, 2018.
As current chair of the AEGC, CCCS also led other initiatives to strengthen the enforcement of competition policy and law in ASEAN, increase the awareness of competition policy and law in the region, and create a level playing field for companies operating in the region.
These initiatives include the ASEAN Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF), which serves as a set of guidelines for ASEAN member states to cooperate on competition cases.
Another is the ASEAN Competition Compliance Toolkit, which provides guidance to ASEAN member states on promoting and facilitating business compliance with competition law in the region.
The CCCS has also initiated two studies to examine the state of competition in ASEAN. The first study will review the impact of policies and regulations on competition in the logistics sector in ASEAN, while the second study will assess the impact of state-owned enterprises on competition in the logistics sector in ASEAN. ASEAN decided to focus on the logistics sector as it is an important sector in terms of catalyzing development and connectivity among member states.
Another undertaking is the conduct of capacity-building efforts from new and existing development partners. Apart from continuing the close collaboration with existing development partners, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Japan, the AEGC forged engagements with new development partners which will assist ASEAN in its capacity building efforts.
The new development partners include the Organisation for Economic Co-operation, Canada, the European Commission, and the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, to catalyze research on competition issues in ASEAN and East Asia, AEGC also launched the Virtual ASEAN Competition Research Centre to host a repository of research articles which are useful reference for researchers and competition authorities examining competition issues in the region. The virtual center can be accessed at https://asean-competition.org/research/.
CCCS will hand over the chairmanship of the AEGC to Malaysia in 2019.
The ASEAN Experts Group on Competition was established in August 2007 as a platform to look into competition policy and law issues in ASEAN. The AEGC is an official body comprising representatives from the competition authorities and agencies responsible for competition policy and law in ASEAN member states.