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AANZFTA Delivers First Consumer Protection Activity

30 September 2019

Sydney, 17-19 September 2019 – Senior officials of consumer protection agencies from all ASEAN Member States, Australia and New Zealand gathered with their competition enforcement peers to share knowledge and cultivate links for more efficient and cohesive implementation of competition and consumer protection laws in enhancing consumer welfare. This three-day study visit explored the interface between laws on competition and consumer protection and respective agencies in practice.

“The study visit has facilitated the exchange of ideas between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand agencies. These ideas not only cover practical issues, but also policy. This will allow us to go home and develop our strategic plans for both competition and consumer law enforcement and cooperation”, noted Mr Mohammad Haizam Hashim, Chair of the AEGC.

Topics studied included building inter-agency coordination and synergies; strategies for effective engagement with consumer and business organisations and data and complaints handling techniques. 42 participating officials leveraged this opportunity to form connections, study, cultivate regulatory good practice and identify practical next steps for strengthening consumer protection in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). As noted by Mr Rod Sims, Chair of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), “Consumers are at the forefront of the work of the ACCC, and we are very pleased we can share our experiences and learnings and exchange ideas with neighbouring countries, so all ASEAN nations are well placed to address persistent and emerging consumer law issues”.

“This study visit has broadened our horizons. I’d like for the competition and consumer agencies in each AMS to go back and start to cooperate and collaborate, particularly on key issues that cross both competition and consumer law. Hopefully this is the start of a closer relationship between competition and consumer law enforcement throughout ASEAN”, said Ms Rasamee Vistaveth, Chair of the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection.

The study visit was organised by the ACCC, with support from the ASEAN Secretariat, as part of the Consumer Protection Scoping Project (CPSP) under the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP). CPSP was designed to support discussions concerning the potential upgrade of the AANZFTA Chapter on Competition to provide for consumer protection in the region.

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