Hong-Kong: Overview of the May 2008 proposals for a competition law

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In May 2008, the Hong Kong Trade and Development Bureau published a set of detailed proposals for a competition law. This proposal, if adopted, would introduce for the first time in Hong Kong’s legal order a competition regime covering: (i) anti-competitive agreements and practices, and (ii) market abuse. Moreover, the proposals do not exclude the possibility of introducing a regime of ex ante merger control and call on the legal community to decide on alternatives to such a regime. The proposals do not advocate the adoption of a law covering all the measures mentioned, but envisage the adoption of a series of implementing texts to be established by a future Competition Commission. The proposals also contain provisions for the establishment of an institutional framework, including the creation of an independent competition authority and a competition tribunal. Interested parties had until 5 August 2008 to submit their comments. These proposals should be the subject of a draft law that the Legislative Council could examine during the 2008/2009 session. The article comments on the main provisions of these proposals.

1. Whilst competition law regimes have existed in jurisdictions such as the EU and the US for many years, it is only relatively recently that such regimes have become common in other parts of the world. Currently, there appears to be significant momentum for the spread of competition law in Asia. For example, the new Competition Act of Singapore came into force on 1 January 2006, and the Anti-Monopoly Law of China will enter into force on 1 August 2008. 2. It is, therefore, of little surprise that the introduction of competition law is now also being considered in Hong Kong. The new law would introduce into Hong Kong, for the first time, a comprehensive cross-sector competition law covering (i) anti-competitive agreements/practices; and (ii) abuses of substantial market power. In

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Kirstie Nicholson, Hong-Kong: Overview of the May 2008 proposals for a competition law, September 2008, Concurrences N° 3-2008, Art. N° 20369, www.concurrences.com

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