Workshop highlights importance of competition law

Azlan Othman & Lyna Mohamad

The importance of the Competition Workshop for Younger Competition Agencies – First Steps’ virtual workshop in aiding young competition agencies to implement and enforce competition law towards achieving the overall goals of improving economic efficiency and consumer welfare was highlighted by Legislative Council member and Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam’s (CCBD) Chairperson Yang Berhormant Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii recently.

She also shared the progress of competition law implementation in Brunei Darussalam including the enforcement of Anti-Competitive Agreements prohibition, the development of effective legal framework and the efforts on advocacy.

Meanwhile, the CCBD’s efforts and progress in implementing Brunei’s Competition Order was applauded by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The one-day virtual workshop, co-organised by the CCBD and the OECD, Korea Policy Centre (KPC) under the OECD/KPC Competition Programme, was targetted at young competition agencies in ASEAN to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing on the first steps of implementing and enforcing competition law.

It brought together over 20 officials from young competition agencies in the region including the CCBD; Myanmar Competition Commission; Lao Business Competition Commission; and the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression of Cambodia (CCF).

Legislative Council member and Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam’s (CCBD) Chairperson Yang Berhormant Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii during the virtual workshop. PHOTO: CCBD

The workshop, led by Professor William Kovacic from the George Washington University, explored five major implementation tasks for young competition agencies strengthening institutional framework; strategic priority-setting and project selection; impactful project delivery; strong external engagement; and frequent assessment and refinement.

He emphasised on the right foundation for young competition agencies to ensure effective and efficient competition law implementation.

Participants were also provided with insights on the early days’ experiences of the Philippines Competition Commission’s (PCC) competition law implementation.

PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said the Philippine agency leverage on technical assistance from development partners to build its resources. This has enabled it to scale up and build its enforcement capacity by learning from experiences of more matured competition agencies.

Equally important is the buying from the whole government to achieve the common objective of a competitive marketplace.

The workshop concluded with closing remarks from OECD Senior Competition Expert Ruben Maximiano to strengthen the collaboration in competition-related area between the OECD and ASEAN.

The OECD/KPC Competition Programme provides a hub for competition officials to exchange experiences and deepen their capacities in competition law and policy through workshops and seminars.