The Hong Kong government yesterday announced its intention to bring Hong Kong's new cross-sector competition regime into force on 14 December 2015.
Although many businesses in Hong Kong are already reviewing their activities to ensure compliance with the new law, this announcement is a final reminder to do so. The law does not include a grace period: businesses are subject to the law from the commencement date. Moreover, the Competition Commission, responsible for investigating and taking prosecutions under the new law will be permitted to exercise its full enforcement powers (including dawn raids) from the commencement date. The Competition Tribunal, responsible for hearing and deciding cases, will also be operational from that point.
Various instruments were today gazetted that are necessary to bring the competition law regime into effect, including commencement notices in respect of both the Competition Ordinance itself, as well as the Tribunal Rules.
The commencement notices and other instruments such as the fees regulations will be put before Hong Kong’s Legislative Council for vetting on 14 October 2015, when it returns from its summer recess. The vetting process may or may not lead to delays in the Government’s proposed commencement date.
The Competition Commission must still take the following steps before the Ordinance comes into force, and has promised to do so in the "coming months":
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