ASEAN handbook on e-commerce and competition launched

ASEAN handbook on e-commerce and competition launched

The book will serve as a reference for ASEAN member states on addressing and identifying challenges in enforcing competition law related to e-commerce.

asean handbook on ecommerce
The handbook will serve as a reference for ASEAN member states on addressing and identifying challenges in enforcing competition law related to e-commerce. (Photo: Dewi Fabbri) 

SINGAPORE: The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) on Wednesday (Aug 16) launched a handbook to help ASEAN member states identify and address potential challenges in enforcing competition law related to e-commerce.

The book aims to provide guidance and support to businesses in the region engaged in e-commerce. It also features collaborations with several ASEAN competition authorities, including Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand on their experience and expertise in dealing with competition issues in the e-commerce sector. 

The handbook was launched at the opening of a conference by the CCS and Singapore Academy of Law.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang said the growth of the digital economy has created new challenges for competition authorities and regulators.

"Competition authorities and sectorial regulators must move with the times to be perceptive, anticipative, and adaptive. Policies and practices must be future-ready to ensure that they do not become a stumbling block to innovative new entrants," he said.

The handbook will help e-commerce businesses – particularly those operating across borders – compete on a level playing field, he added.

lim hng kiang speaking at handbook launch
Minister Lim Hng Kiang speaking at the Competition Law Conference on Wednesday (Aug 16). (Photo: Jeffrey Tan) 

CCS chairman Aubeck Kam noted that with technological disruption, a big question governments and competition authorities face is if existing regulatory frameworks and models continue to hold. 

“We have to be prepared to deal effectively with novel scenarios that may yet disorientate incumbents and regulators alike. Even if existing competition principles prove to remain robust, we have to also be ready to rule decisively and expeditiously," he said.

The development of the handbook is in line with the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025, which aims to work towards regional economic integration among ASEAN’s 10 member states. 

Among discussions at the conference will be the findings of a research paper on the data landscape in Singapore. The paper concluded that while the advent of large data sets and data analytics may be fresh developments, existing analytical frameworks are "sufficiently flexible and robust" to deal with competition issues that may arise in data driven industries.

Source: CNA/dl

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