The members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (“ASEAN”) have committed in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint to endeavour to introduce national competition laws and policy by the end of 2015. So far, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have enacted national competition laws.

On 21 July 2015, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, signed into law the Competition Act.

The National Assembly of Laos had also, on 16 July 2015, passed its Business Competition Law.

The number of ASEAN member states with comprehensive competition laws now stands at 9 (from 7 previously), and Cambodia is the only member state which does not currently have such laws.

Key features of the Philippine Competition Act

The landmark Competition Act is the first all-encompassing antitrust statute in the Philippines and will provide for the competition framework in the country. When in force, the Act will have a prohibitions framework which will be broadly similar to that in Singapore. It will prohibit anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

The Competition Act also provides for the establishment of the Philippine Competition Commission which will take on the role of regulator with responsibility for implementation and enforcement of competition policy in the country. The Commission is also expected to formulate and set up a leniency program.

Key features of the Laos Business Competition Law

The Business Competition Law is comprehensive and covers all areas of business competition. It is intended to supplement the current Prime Ministerial Decree on Trade and Competition, which has been in place since 2004, and to facilitate the growing integration of ASEAN towards the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015. The law defines principles, measures and regulations that prevent unfair and unjust business competition, while promoting business competition in a fair and just manner along with protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the state, business operators and customers.