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Combating Cartels In ASEAN

13 March 2016

Bangkok, 29 July 2016 – In the post-2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), well-functioning markets are an imperative. Effective and enforceable competition rules are now enacted in nine ASEAN Member States. Combating anti-competitive practices such as cartels are an important plank of these policies to eliminate price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation activities which distort competition and reduce consumer welfare.

The 6th ASEAN Competition Conference (6th ACC) “Combating Cartels in ASEAN – Getting It Right” 27-28 July 2016, was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Combating cartels “needs the close cooperation of ASEAN competition authorities and for effective measures in ASEAN in order to detect, investigate, and deter cartels,” says Ms Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, Secretary-General of the Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) and Director-General of Department of Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce of Thailand.

Mr Khouanchay Iemsouthi, Chair of the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC), highlighted that the post-2015 ASEAN Economic Community, supports a competitive ASEAN. This is reinforced through the ASEAN Competition Action Plan (ACAP) 2016-2025 with its five strategic goals of establishing effective competition regimes, enhancing capacities of competition-related agencies, putting in place regional cooperation arrangements on CPL, fostering a competition-aware region and moving towards greater convergence.

The Conference addressed issues relating to the detection of cartels including the use of leniency programmes and the effectiveness of administrative and criminal sanctions in deterring cartel activities. The need for strengthening ASEAN competition authorities’ capacities and for closer cooperation among these authorities were stressed in order to effectively combat both domestic and international cartel activities towards realizing fully the benefits of an integrated Community. Underscoring this is the requirement for strong advocacy efforts among the business community and consumers to better understand the harm caused by cartels and the benefits to consumers of fair competition from the elimination of cartels.

The 6th ACC was organized by the Office of Trade Competition Commission, Thailand (OTCC) and co-sponsored by the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, upon commission of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The press release can be found at: http://www.asean-competition.org/read-news-combating- cartels-in-asean


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