Antitrust & Competition: Asia in Focus

Competition law enforcement is now an important business issue in most of the Asia-Pacific region's significant economies. Keeping abreast of developments is a challenging task for businesses operating in the region. A particular issue for in-house counsel in the Asia-Pacific region, compared with the U.S. or Europe, is the great diversity of rules among its jurisdictions – from the substantive prohibitions to the level of economic and legal sophistication, and to the approach to enforcement.

While the wealthy developed economies of the region, such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, have comprehensive and predictable approaches to competition law enforcement, the proportion of business that these countries account for in the region is dwindling. The competition law landscape is even more challenging for businesses operating in some more rapidly growing parts of the Asia-Pacific region, where the economic stakes may be considerably higher.

For example, China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan are four of the world's six largest countries by population, but their competition authorities are relatively small by world standards. So far they have produced only a limited body of case precedent. Consequently it is difficult to predict what kinds of cases those authorities will pursue, and even more difficult to predict the likely outcomes.

With a combined population of 600 million people, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") region is a significant focus for many global businesses. In some countries within this region, there remain gaps in the coverage of competition law. In others, there is no dedicated enforcement agency, or the level of enforcement activity ebbs and flows. Given the vastness of the Asia-Pacific region and the significant legal and cultural differences among the various jurisdictions, staying up to date on significant developments in the region can be challenging.

We hope that this update will help you stay on top of this diverse region. If you have any questions arising out of the topics addressed in this newsletter, please feel free to contact us to discuss them further.

In this issue, we summarize recent competition law developments in each of the following countries:

New Zealand
Sri Lanka