ASEAN Strengthens Capacity for Cross-Border Enforcement.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Increased globalisation has raised challenges for competition authorities due to the rise in anti-competitive conduct and mergers whose effect are increasingly cross-border. To keep up with the momentum, ASEAN is strengthening its capacity to enhance cross-border enforcement. A training course on promoting cross-border enforcement in ASEAN was conducted from 11-13 January 2017 in Tokyo, Japan as part of a series of activities supported under the Japan – ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

Hosted by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), all ASEAN Members States took part in the 3-days training in which participants engaged in interactive discussions on investigation procedures on cross-border cartel cases, means of determining extraterritorial application of competition law, steps to gather and handle digital evidence, as well as exploring the forms of international cooperation between competition agencies.

In his opening remarks, Mr Sadaaki Suwazono, Director of International Affairs Division of the JFTC emphasized the importance of such training programmes, to prepare competition agencies with the necessary skills to handle future enforcement actions in relation to cross-border anti-competitive conduct, and well as to share their experiences in cross-border enforcement.

In his keynote lecture, Dr Guillermo Valles Galmes, Director of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, UNCTAD, highlighted the important nexus between trade policies and competition policy. He emphasized that the rapid movement in the digital economy could post new threats as multinational companies engage in new forms of collusive behavior which can be detrimental to consumers. Therefore, quick measures to ensure strong enforcement of competition law are pertinent.

ASEAN is also looking into strengthening its regional cooperation arrangements and adopt common principles, towards greater harmonization of competition policy and law in the region. These initiatives are in-line with the strategic goals outlined under the recently adopted ASEAN Competition Action Plan 2016-2025 (ACAP 2025).