Consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice, economic equality and environmental balance, within and across borders


Gathering Evidence on Unfair Trade Practices in ASEAN: Challenges & Impacts

Hanoi, Vietnam

Friday, 11 March 2011

Unfair trade practices (UTPs), otherwise called unfair competition practices, constitute an important part of antitrust statutes of several countries in the world. In some cases, UTPs are handled by a whole separate piece of legislative act – a law on unfair competition. This is because UTPs have considerable, sometimes quite severe, implications on business welfare, especially that of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and consumer welfare. However, in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), UTPs have remained a low key for a multitude of reasons.

CUTS Hanoi Resource Centre, with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC – Canada), is launching a project entitled “Study on Unfair Trade Practices in select ASEAN countries”, in cooperation with research partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This project aspires to fill the aforementioned void in the ASEAN region by generating and supporting the discussions/dialogues therein on issues related to UTPs.

In select ASEAN countries, empirical research on UTPs (their prevalence, nature and possible harms caused by them to business and consumer welfare, etc) would be undertaken, in addition to legal research on the relevant regulatory and institutional frameworks, as base for future discussions on the issues. The perceptions and expectations of relevant stakeholder groups such as the government, the business and the consumer, would be captured through a survey process, an exercise aimed not only at providing inputs to the research and policy dialogue process, but also at raising the awareness of the general public on the issue and facilitating networking amongst interested parties. This would also create momentum from the bottom-up for ASEAN-wide discussions on UTPs. Finally, the research output would be fed into the discussions of the ASEAN Experts’ Group on Competition through informal consultations and policy dialogues, a process which is expected to contribute to positive policy developments within respective ASEAN countries as well as at the regional level.

The project launch meeting was organized during the 11th of March, 2011 at Melia Hanoi Hotel, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.