Competition Policy: Building Blocks for a Competitive Society

The Asian Development Bank and the Japan Fair Trade Commission will hold a one and half day public conference stock taking recent competition policy developments in Southeast Asian economies at the ADB Manila headquarters from 11 to 12 January 2010.

Background

International evidence clearly shows that market competition spurs firms to become more efficient, innovative and responsive to consumer needs, thereby improving productivity and economic performance through improved resource allocation. Consumers enjoy more choices, lower prices, and better quality products and services. While most Southeast Asian countries have some kind of competition policy, broadly defined to include trade and investment liberalization, deregulation, public procurement reform, privatization, and competition law, it varies substantially in mix and formality across countries. Since 1999, four of the ten ASEAN member states have gone as far as enacting a competition law. Lessons can thus be drawn for all regional economies on how to foster competitive markets through competition policy, including the role of competition legislation.

Purpose

The conference has four purposes. First, to stock-take developments and progress in each Southeast Asian economy in implementing a competition policy, broadly defined as above. This will also assess its effects on the relevant economy, and benchmarking such changes against currently thought best international practice. Second, to assess the institutional and capacity readiness in those ASEAN countries without a competition law to introduce such legislation. Third, to provide recommendations to national government's on strategic approaches to developing a competition framework. Fourth, to identify a future regional research program on competition policy. One regional and seven country papers will be presented at the conference. The conference will also draw on resource persons and experts from competition agencies and regulatory reform offices in other economies such as the Australian Productivity Commission, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, the Japan Fair Trade Commission, and the United States Federal Trade Commission.

Participants

Approximately 100 participants from the Philippines and the region will be invited to the conference, of which 45 participants will be high level policy makers from competition agencies and relevant government agencies in the region. Other participants will be representatives from the private sector, academia, and other development agencies. A panel discussion on the second day of the conference will discuss a future research program on competition policy in the region.