The fifth ASEAN Competition Conference was held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 4 and 5, focusing on measures to ensure neutrality in competition law enforcement and maintaining a level playing field between public and private businesses.

Themed “Advancing Competition Policy and Law Post-2015: Progress, Opportunities and Challenges”, the event is intended to improve the efficiency of implementing competition laws and build a healthy business climate in the region.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the ASEAN has put forth goals towards a common competitive environment such as strengthening the capacity of competition management agencies, reviewing and updating contents in the competition law and building competition cooperation mechanisms in the region.

He added that member states should be well-aware of the issue to create healthy and harmonious competition in the region.

The regional group will bring out plans and initiatives for member nations to build their own competition policies and move towards agreement on fundamental principals in the field, he said.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Directorate of Domestic Trade under Cambodia’s Ministry of Trade Penn Sovicheat highlighted 2015 as an important milestone for the ASEAN on its journey towards deeper economic integration through the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Member nations will strengthen their commitments to competition within the framework of the master plan of the AEC Blueprint 2009, he said, noting that seven of the 10 member states issued laws on competition and six nations have established competition agencies.

To date, over 90 percent of the tariffs among ASEAN countries have decreased to zero percent.

The involved parties will pay special attention to reducing non-tariff and technical barriers and promoting trade moving forward.

Competition policy constitutes an important part of the ASEAN Vision for regional economic integration.-VNA