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Over the last decade, the number of countries with competition laws has dramatically increased. In particular, in the ASEAN region, competition laws have been the subject of much legislative focus as the ASEAN Member States (AMS) committed to the introduction of competition laws by 2015. Although competition laws are now in force in almost all of the AMS, the content and sophistication of the laws differ considerably, raising questions as to how the laws can be applied in a consistent manner across the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The level of enforcement has also varied significantly. The newly established competition authorities in AMS face challenges which are perhaps not contemplated by their established counterparts in ‘Western’ jurisdictions. Commonly, the competition authorities lack resources and expertise; they face a hostile business environment where competition laws are often still not seen to be necessary and have an extremely challenging advocacy role, where multiple cultural and language differences exist within individual AMS, let alone across the wider ASEAN region. The paper will consider what progress has been made by the AMS in implementing their competition laws, including an analysis of case examples in the region. It will question whether a harmonised law across the ASEAN region would be preferable to the current ‘hotchpotch’ and ask what ability Australia really has to influence the development and interpretation of competition laws within ASEAN.


Thomas More Law School

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Conference Paper

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