Asean Economic Community

AEC Wishlist: Harmonise competition law

PEKANBARU (Riau) • The Asean Economic Community (AEC) came into effect in December and will gradually allow the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labour among its members.

One pressing issue that may arise is cross-border cases regarding competition law. To face this, member states need to harmonise their competition laws to avoid extraterritorial jurisdiction conflicts.

Asean has published its Regional Guidelines on Competition Policy as a non-binding statement to implement and develop a competition policy in the context of each member state. The guidelines are used as a standard for member states to draft their competition laws so that they have similar regulations and policies on competition. Unfortunately, diversity among the competition laws remains even after the guidelines were signed.

Meanwhile, cooperation is stated in the Asean Regional Guidelines on Competition Policy as an approach the member states can take to promote a competition culture. However, it is unclear on what level Asean member states will cooperate and how they will implement cooperation.

Even so, a cooperation agreement is one possible way to harmonise different competition laws of the member states.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'Harmonise competition law'. Print Edition | Subscribe