Asian Competition Forum Annual Conference
13th Annual Conference
Asian Regional Competition Issues: Corruption, Communications, Nationalism: Globalisation in Reverse?
United Conference Centre (95 Queensway 10/F United Centre Admiralty)
Hong Kong 11-12 December 2017
This year’s conference has three principal themes:
1) Competition and corruption Many Asian jurisdictions have problems with the interaction between competition and corruption in various forms. Collusion between government officials and commercial entities to rig bids for public procurement contracts is a widespread practice causing large losses for taxpayers. This interface can cause complications for law enforcement due to conflicts between competition law and criminal law, as well as creating political tensions due to powerful vested interests. Technical complications can also arise regarding leniency, burden of proof, prosecutorial authority and the jurisdiction of various courts. Corruption and competition may also manifest itself in other ways via cartels and abuse of dominance.
2) Competition and communications The ability to communicate within countries and between them in Asia is essential to improving individual firms’ and national competitiveness. We define communications broadly to include telecommunications and digital services, press and media, as well as physical communications – road, rail, shipping and aviation services. Without adequate communications within and between national markets, competition in many goods and services markets – both national and regional – are impaired. Many Asian communications markets have relatively low levels of competitive rivalry – ports, airports, shipping services, telecommunications, road and rail transport, often with markets dominated by state or legacy incumbents that are protected by high entry barriers or regulatory regimes.
3) Competition and nationalism Many Asian jurisdictions have both publicly or privately-owned national champions which are supported by government policies that favour them and disfavour actual or potential rivals. Exemptions, de facto or de jure, direct or indirect state aid and restrictive licensing requirements may also impair competition and benefit the national champion. Moreover, the application of competition law may be used as a disguised protectionist tool to benefit domestic players and disfavour foreign rivals.
Obviously, due process and procedural issues can be, and often are, relevant to any of our chosen themes. As such, contributions on these issues are also most welcome.