The Third ASEAN Heads of Competition Agencies (AHCA) Meeting was held on 17th October 2022, via video conference. The Meeting was chaired by Yang Mulia Ms. Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii, Chairperson of the Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) and Chair of the AHCA for 2022.
In her opening remarks, the Chair commended the AHCA, ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC) and ASEAN Secretariat on the successful development of the Guiding Principles for Negotiating the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition (AFAC), which serves as a basis to launch the negotiations of the Agreement. The launch of the negotiations in August 2022 reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to develop and consolidate a regional strategy that will be fair, dynamic, innovative, and competitive for the business environment in the region.
The Meeting deliberated on the next steps for negotiating the AFAC. The AFAC, once completed, aims to strengthen cross-border cooperation and engagements between competition agencies, internalise competition policy into national and regional economic policies, and enhance regional enforcement of competition.
At the Meeting, the Heads further took note on the endorsement of AHCA Joint Statement on maintaining Competitive Policy in the context of Economic Recovery, which is now available on the AEGC website at asean-competition.org. The Joint Statement underlined the importance of competition policy in supporting economic recovery and acknowledged that closer governmental engagement is critical to facilitate economic recovery.
The Meeting also discussed progress and developments of regional cooperation on competition policy and law in ASEAN including the implementation of the AEGC Key Deliverables for 2022, namely, the (i) The ASEAN Investigation Manual on Competition Policy and Law for the Digital Economy and (ii) the Guidelines for Sharing Merger Cases.
Consecutively, the 29th AEGC Meeting and related meetings were convened from 17– 21 October 2022, virtually.