Following the appointments to the Competition Commission, the Hong Kong Government just announced the appointments of the President and Vice President of the Competition Tribunal.
Hong Kong’s preparation for its new competition regime continues; previously we reported on the establishment of the Competition Commission – see our alert: Hong Kong appoints Competition Commission. The Hong Kong Judiciary has taken the next step with the appointment of the President and Vice President of the Competition Tribunal : Mr Justice Godfrey Lam and Madam Justice Queeny Au-Yeung. These appointments are each for a term of three years, with effect from 1 August 2013. Both Mr Justice Lam and Madam Justice Au-Yeung were experienced barristers before they were appointed to the Judiciary.
According to current indications, the Competition Commission will spend the next 12 to 18 months drafting various guidelines, carrying out public and industry consultations and educating Hong Kong’s business community about the new regime. Therefore, it appears that the law – only the parts establishing the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal are currently in force - will be made effective only in early 2015. A global search for a CEO and a few key positions is underway and it is likely that these senior managers will be on board soon.
Some businesses are taking a “wait and see” approach; in particular they are waiting for the guidelines to be issued for consultation before they review their operations for compliance with the new regime. Whilst this may seem to be a sensible option, nevertheless, we recommend that an early start will be useful : you can more easily re-negotiate your contracts, you have more time to review your operations and train your staff and you can better implement an effective internal compliance program.