11th March, 2011, Hanoi, Vietnam
Inaugurating a one-day International Conference on Competition marking the launch of a two year regional project, entitled ‘Study on Unfair Trade Practices in select ASEAN countries’, Mr. Bach Van Mung, Director General, Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) said, “that it is important to deal with UTPs in-order to ensure an effective competitive environment and protection of consumer welfare. According to Mung, it is a big challenge for Vietnam and all ASEAN Countries and thus it is important for competition agencies in ASEAN countries to collaborate together and ensure the end of UTPs”. He emphasised the importance of lesson sharing, dialogues within the framework of the project which would benefit the relevant stakeholders in the ASEAN countries. He affirmed the support of VCAD to ensure successful implementation of the project and acknowledged the support for CUTS International, India and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.
CUTS Hanoi Resource Centre is implementing the project in five ASEAN countries i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam with support from the IDRC The project is being initiated through the conference jointly organized by CUTS International, a civil society organisation which has done pioneering work in the field of competition and regulation in India and other developing countries and Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) – Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Mr. Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, emphasised the importance of effective implementation of Competition and Consumer Protection legislations to effectively counter Unfair Trade Practices. Further, Mehta provided a detailed outline of the work of CUTS in the areas of competition policy and law. He indicated that CUTS is committed to assisting developing and least developed countries of Asia and Africa to advocate for competition reforms as a means to achieve economic development and consumer welfare.
Ms. Alice Pham, Director, CUTS Hanoi Resource Centre provided an overview of the project, various activities and said that at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) level, UTPs have remained a low key for a multitude of reasons. Thus, this project aspires to fill this void in the ASEAN region by generating and supporting the discussions/dialogues therein on issues related to UTPs. Pham emphasised that the project is designed on two main pillars – research and advocacy. Capacity building and networking elements are built in the whole implementation process of the project.
The meeting brought together more than 40 experts and academicians within and beyond the ASEAN region, as well as partners, advisors and select local government officials working in the field, press to discuss and exchange views on the nature and prevalence of UTPs in the region, their impacts on business growth and consumer welfare, and the legal and regulatory framework as well as institutions to deal with them, etc.