Competition Law in Singapore

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Kala Anandarajah, Dominique Lombardi, Aug 24, 2015

Singapore was one of the first ASEAN countries to adopt (and enforce effectively) a generic competition law. The decision to introduce a generic competition law was based on the recommendations of the Economic Review Committee in 2003 to “create a level playing field for businesses, big and small, to compete on equal footing.”

The adoption of the Competition Act (Cap.50B) in 2004 (“Act”) was also triggered by the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement that entered into force on January 1, 2004 and set out extensive competition-related obligations. In particular, Article 12.2 of the USSFTA required Singapore to (a) adopt or maintain measures to proscribe anticompetitive business and (b) establish an authority responsible for the enforcement of the measures to proscribe anticompetitive business conduct. Under the USSFTA, Singapore committed to enact a generic competition law by January 2005…

While the Act is largely inspired from EU competition legislation, there are nevertheless certain aspects that are unique to Singapore. To illustrate, the Act does not apply to the Government, statutory bodies, or any person acting on their behalf; the Act does, however, apply to government-linked corporations. The Act also does not apply to (non IP-related) vertical agreements unless one or more of the parties to the agreement has a degree of market power.

Over the past decade, the CCS has taken a highly pro-active stance in ensuring compliance with competition law in Singapore. It has taken enforcement action against international cartels affecting competition in Singapore, and it has stepped up its enforcement activity in relation to merger control. The CCS has clearly established itself as a serious regulator not to be ignored and established Singapore as one of the leading countries in the implementation and enforcement of competition law.

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