Preparations continue as the Hong Kong Government brings the Competition Ordinance into effect in phases. The Ordinance, which has been enacted to curb cross-sector anti-competitive conduct, is expected to remain in this transitional period until sometime in 2014 so the public and relevant stakeholders can familiarize themselves with the new legal requirements and make any necessary adjustments to their business practices.
Staged implementation began on 18 January 2013, when several key provisions relating to the establishment, functions and powers of the Competition Commission came into force. (Click here to see our e-bulletin summarizing those key provisions.) On 26 April 2013, the Government announced 14 appointments to form the Commission, comprising one chairperson and 13 members from various backgrounds including law, economics, consumer protection, financial services, commerce and industry. The Competition Commission has been tasked, amongst other things, to prepare regulatory guidelines, carry out consultation and conduct publicity programmes to promote public understanding of the Ordinance.
More recently, on 1 August 2013, the provisions establishing the Competition Tribunal came into force. Honourable Mr Justice Godfrey Lam Wan-ho and the Honourable Madam Justice Queeny Au-Yeung Kwai-yue have been appointed as President and Deputy President respectively, each for a term of three years. The Competition Tribunal will have extensive powers to impose sanctions and is largely expected to hear cases brought before it by the Competition Commission after due investigation.
It is anticipated that the substantive provisions of the Ordinance will not come into force until regulatory guidelines are issued by the Competition Commission, which is likely to be in the third quarter of 2013 or early 2014.