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Hong Kong Consults On Competition Policy

by Mary Swire, for LawAndTax-News.com, Hong Kong

07 November 2006


Hong Kong's Economic Development and Labour Bureau is gauging views on the way forward for the SAR's competition policy, including the need for a new competition law covering all sectors of the economy.

Financial Secretary Henry Tang stated on Monday that high priority should be given to ensuring Hong Kong's competition policy is modern, serves the public interest and facilitates a business-friendly environment.

In the public discussion document entitled 'Promoting Competition - Maintaining our Economic Drive', launched yesterday, Mr Tang said that in the interests of maintaining a high level of efficiency in the city's economy and promoting market discipline, this is an opportune time to re-examine how best to safeguard competition in Hong Kong.

He explained that:

"In so doing, we must take care that our response to any perceived weakness in the current arrangements strikes an appropriate balance between allowing the free play of market forces and putting in place the level of regulation necessary to ensure that fair competition can thrive in our city."

"Important questions that the community as a whole will need to take a view on include whether the time is ripe for the introduction of a cross-sector competition law, and how we can assure our business community, particularly our small and medium enterprises, that this will not impose on them onerous compliance costs."

Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Stephen Ip went on to add that the discussion document has outlined ways in which Hong Kong's competition policy might move forward to achieve the objective of enhancing economic efficiency, protecting free trade and thereby bringing benefits to consumers.

The document has put forward 20 key questions, under following three areas, for public discussion:

  • The need for a new competition law and the considerations;
  • The regulatory framework for a competition law. Options include a single authority with power to investigate and adjudicate, separation of enforcement and adjudication, and adjudication by a specialist tribunal; and,
  • Enforcement and other regulatory issues, such as whether breaches be considered civil or criminal infringements, inclusion of a leniency programme, making of civil claims and ways to address businesses' concern over legal burden.


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