A Balanced Approach to Enforcement and Outreach

Feb 22, 2012

Competition policy is somewhat analogous to healthcare policy. The underlying policy objective is to foster public health (competitive markets). As an essential part of its execution, the policy maker establishes healthcare institutions (a competition authority) to treat patients when they fall sick (enforce competition law against anticompetitive practices that adversely affect markets). However, remedial care alone is not enough. If the general population lives unhealthy lifestyles (the market players lack a culture of competition), more people will develop diseases. This will not only put resource strains on the healthcare system, but also lead to poor outcomes of public health. Therefore, an increasing emphasis is being put on preventivecare, recognizing that the most effective way of staying healthy is to have a strong immune system.

Similarly, the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) does not limit our role to the enforcement of the Competition Act. It is equally important, if not more, to prevent anticompetitive practices from taking place in the first instance. Accordingly, we have been devoting substantial resources to advocacy and outreach to our stakeholders. For clarity, the term “advocacy” in this article refers to the engagement of government agencies to advocate pro-competitive policy making and regulation, while “outreach” refers to the engagement of the business community and general public to increase awareness and acceptance of the benefit…

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