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Designing Competition Law Under Financial Crisis—Indonesia and Thailand Compared

 |  September 10, 2014

R. Ian McEwin, Sep 11, 2014

The 1997 the Asian Financial Crisis was the impetus for the introduction of competition law in both Indonesia and Thailand. The crisis upset cozy pre-existing government-business relations and led to the collapse of some financial empires. There was a belief in both countries that anticompetitive practices, sanctioned by government, contributed to the crisis and so this proved to be a catalyst for the introduction of competition law in 1999 in both Indonesia and Thailand. While the International Monetary Fund imposed, as a condition for financial support, a requirement that Indonesia introduce a competition law, it did not impose the same condition on Thailand despite the fact that, arguably, Thailand was in worse economic shape prior to the AFC than Indonesia. However, despite the common causal factor, Indonesia and Thailand each designed different competition laws and institutions and both have quite different enforcement records. Why? This is a difficult question, but we present several answers, leading to the realization that while the world has changed in Indonesia and competition is more important there now, the same cannot be said for Thailand — yet.