A Vietnamese delegation led by Bach Van Mung, Director of the Competition Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is participating in the third ASEAN Competition Conference (ACC), which opened in Singapore on July 4.

The two-day event also draws the participation of some 200 delegates, including senior government officials from other ASEAN member countries as well as industry leaders, academics, and competition practitioners.

Focusing on the theme “Moving Towards Regional Integration of Competition Policy and Law”, this ACC aims to examine the benefits, approaches and challenges in fostering greater regional cooperation and integration of competition policy and law among the ASEAN member states.

This focus is timely in view of ASEAN’s vision of establishing the ASEAN Economic Community with a single market and production base by 2015.

On behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, Pham Chau Giang, Deputy Head of the International Cooperation Board of the Competition Authority delivered a speech at the first session on the rise of competition law in ASEAN.

In other sessions, policy makers, academics and competition practitioners from both private and public sectors of ASEAN members countries, Hong Kong, Germany, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Mexico will speak on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from possible approaches and models for a regional competition regime to the challenges of regional economic integration in respect of competition policy and law towards 2015 when the ASEAN Economic Community is established.

Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, in his opening address, highlighted that “competition policy and law will become increasingly important in underpinning economic growth and integration in ASEAN”.

A strong competition regime enhances efficient market conduct and promotes overall productivity and competitiveness of markets in the region, he said.

He urged ASEAN member states to harmonise or at least rationalise the competition laws of each member state as far as possible.

This will not only enhance intra-ASEAN trade and investment, but also improve ASEAN’s competitiveness in the global market, he added.

According to the Singaporean minister, to date, five out of the 10 ASEAN member countries, including Singapore , have competition laws in place, with the remaining countries making good progress in establishing their national competition laws by 2015.-VNA