Fair competition is the key ingredient to making the Asean region competitive, innovative and dynamic, the Minister of Trade and Industry (Trade) said yesterday.
Mr Lim Hng Kiang told the International Competition Network (ICN) annual conference that the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) will contribute to efforts to align competition policy and law among Asean member states by leading new initiatives, including a regional programme.
The new Asean Competition Policy and Law programme will start this year and aims to foster fair competition by promoting collaboration among businesses, market authorities and government agencies in the region by organising various events, from networking conferences to training sessions.
Other CCS initiatives include a toolkit for Asean states carrying out their competition advocacy plans, including guidelines on which stakeholders to approach.
The ICN, which was launched in 2001 to promote competition law enforcement, started its three-day conference at Marina Bay Sands yesterday. Around 450 international delegates are here to discuss competition law and policy issues.
This is the first time the ICN has held the conference in South-east Asia, a "timely" move given that "competition policy and law is growing in importance in Asean, and is regarded as one of the pillars of the Asean single market", said CCS chairman Aubeck Kam.
Asean, which is the world's seventh largest economy with a market of over 600 million people, formed the Asean Economic Community (AEC) last year to tap the region's economic potential.
Nine out of 10 Asean member states have enacted competition laws under the AEC Blueprint 2015.
Mr Lim said competition policy ensures markets are open to new entrants while allowing businesses to compete on a level playing field. "Competition enables efficient functioning and openness of our markets, so that businesses thrive through productivity and innovation."