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

Policy Dialogue on Unfair Trade Practices in ASEAN

Jakarta, 19 December 2012

A policy dialogue of the project entitled “Study on Unfair Trade Practices in select ASEAN countries” will be organised in Sari Pan Pacific Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia on the 19th of December 2012. The dialogue will be hosted by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International) in collaboration with the Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK).

This is a two-year project supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, in which CUTS is implementing in cooperation with research partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The overall objective of this project is to generate and promote substantive discussions/dialogues in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on issues related to unfair trade practices (UTPs).

UTPs encompass a broad array of torts, all of which involve economic injury brought on consumers or businesses by deceptive or wrongful conducts by other enterprises, often the more powerful ones with large bargaining power. The legal theories that can be asserted include claims such as trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, false advertising, palming-off, dilution and disparagement. UTPs can arise in any line of business and could negatively affect the legitimate interests of small businesses and consumers alike. As a result, these practices not only lead to reduction in consumer welfare, but will also inflict harms on business growth, and the overall environment for business in developing economies. In Indonesia, UTPs are regulated under the Law No.5/1999 on the Prohibition of Monopoly and Unfair Business Competition Practices (the Competition Law) and to some extent, the Law No.8/1999 on Consumers’ Protection.

The policy dialogue will comprise of a half-day public seminar, during which our partners, advisors and the project implementation team will present the project findings and recommendations on Indonesia as well as the whole ASEAN region with regard to the nature and prevalence of UTPs in each country, their impacts on business growth and consumer welfare, the legal and regulatory framework as well as institutions to deal with them, and a summary of different stakeholders’ perspective on UTPs, etc.

We would like to invite representative(s) of your press agency to participate in and report about this meeting. For further information, please contact Ms. Alice Pham at ap@cuts.org, +84 917 817 644, or Mr. Muhammad Faiz Aziz at muhammad.aziz@pshk.or.id, +628 158 253 446.

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International – www.cuts-international.org) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation specialised in undertaking research, advocacy and networking on public interest issues such as international trade and economics, competition and investment, consumer protection and development. Headquartered in Jaipur (India), CUTS has offices and resource centres based across India and beyond, including New Delhi, Chittogarth, Calcutta (India), Nairobi (Kenya), Lusaka (Zambia), Geneva (Switzerland) and Hanoi (Vietnam).

Pusat Studi Hukum & Kebijakan Indonesia or the Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK – www.pshk.or.id) is a non-profit organization working on research and advocacy towards socially responsible law making in Indonesia. PSHK works in two main areas, namely legislation and judiciary reform. PSHK has a vast experience in both areas. In the legislation reform, PSHK has developed a legislative drafting training manual that has been used in series of legislative drafting training until present. PSHK annually publish a book based on research about the legislative performance in Indonesia.