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Study on Commonalities and Differences across ASEAN Competition Laws Delivered

10 August 2021

The Study on Commonalities and Differences across Competition Laws in ASEAN and Areas Feasible for Regional Convergence is published to provide a comprehensive overview of the substantive competition laws in ASEAN and recommends short to medium priorities to be undertaken towards convergence.

Convergence of laws in the ASEAN region is critical to assessing cross-border cartels and mergers. The scope of many ASEAN competition laws are extra-territorial, requiring a coordinated solution. The Study found that much regional convergence can be achieved through soft law, coordination and cooperation between the AMS regulators. There are also considerable similarity amongst AMS at the macro level on laws covering cartels, anti-competitive agreements (horizontal and vertical), abuse of dominance and mergers. Exceptions are the exclusion of vertical agreements from the prohibition against anticompetitive agreements by Brunei Darussalam and Singapore and the absence of regulation of anti-competitive mergers in Malaysia. Amendments to Malaysia’s law are being proposed to include mergers.

Some potential differences at a micro-level exist in the use of terminologies, such as ‘per se’, ‘object’ and ‘effect’; the application of the law to ‘concerted practices’; differences in merger notification thresholds (a mix of mandatory and voluntary, pre- and post-merger requirements); sanctions; leniency regimes; and investigation powers. Such differences may be addressed to a considerable extent by soft law, cooperation and coordination between the AMS competition regulators.

The Study includes the following:

  • an initial benchmarking of the AMS laws against the existing Regional Guidelines;
  • considers the institutional arrangements of the AMS competition regulators and the legislative provisions that support regional convergence.

The Study which is undertaken with the support from GIZ, is consistent with Deliverables 5.1.1 and 5.2.1 of the ASEAN Competition Action Plan (ACAP) 2025. 

Download the Study here.