Most Read Contributor in Hong Kong, September 2016
Keywords: Hong Kong, competition commission,
LegCo, draft guidelines
On 26 May 2014, the Competition Commission (the
"Commission") provided the Hong Kong Legislative Council
(LegCo) with an update on its preparation work. As anticipated much
of the Commission's initial efforts will be focussed on
developing procedural and substantive guidelines.
The Commission announced that it will conduct an engagement
phase with stakeholders prior to publishing draft guidelines for
consultation. The engagement phase will commence this week and
continue through to July 2014. The Commission anticipates that it
will publish draft guidelines in September 2014 and undertake a
consultation phase with LegCo, stakeholders and the general public
with the aim of finalising the guidelines in the first half of
2015. While the Commission did not indicate when the substantive
provisions of the Competition Ordinance (the "Ordinance")
will be implemented, the proposed timeline suggests mid-2015, at
Importantly, the guidelines will indicate how the Commission
will interpret and give effect to the First Conduct Rule, Second
Conduct Rule and the Merger Rule. In addition, the Commission will
publish guidelines setting out how applications for decisions or
block exemption orders are to be made, lodging complaints and
procedures for initiating and conducting investigations.
The Commission also indicated that it would conduct publicity
programmes to promote public understanding of the Ordinance. Such
initiatives are important as raising public awareness of
competition issues has made it easier for competition authorities
in other jurisdictions to obtain information from the public about
breaches of competition law.
Although the recruitment of the Chief Executive Officer
continues, the Commission confirmed that the Senior Executive
Director and two Executive Directors have been appointed and have
commenced their new roles. The Commission went on to confirm that
it will have a total of 34 staff by mid-2014. We understand that
the Commission has taken steps to establish bilateral connections
with competition authorities in other jurisdictions and joined the
International Competition Network, an international forum of more
than 120 competition authorities from which the Commission will be
able to seek guidance.
The Commission also took the opportunity to publicly encourage
businesses to familiarise themselves with the Ordinance and review
their trade practices to ensure compliance with the law.
Relevantly, Ms Anna Wu, the chairperson of the Commission, stated
that the Commission would adopt a more lenient approach towards
non-serious and unintentional anti-competitive behaviour in the
early stage of implementation of the Ordinance to assist small to
medium-sized enterprises. However, she emphasized that serious
breach would not be exempt. Furthermore, to encourage
whistleblowers to cooperate with the Commission, Ms Wu explained
that the Commission is working to ensure that whistleblowers are
offered appropriate protection.
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This article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters
discussed herein. Please also read the JSM legal publications
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As mentioned in our previous alert in this series, the Hong Kong Competition Commission's investigative process begins with an Initial Assessment to screen suitable cases for further investigation or other action.
The investigative process begins by the Hong Kong Competition Commission (the "Commission") identifying a potential contravention of a competition rule.
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