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Sandra Marco Colino, Sep 30, 2015
Before the end of 2015, Hong Kong’s first cross-sector competition law will at long last be fully operational. The Hong Kong Competition Ordinance was passed in June 2012, and its adoption put an end to what appeared to be an interminable discussion as to the pros and cons of introducing such legislation for the region’s economy.The government recently announced that all provisions of the Ordinance are to enter into force on December 14, 2015, three-and-a-half years to the day since the law was adopted.
During this seemingly long implementation period, things have begun to take shape, albeit slowly: The government has published the list of statutory bodies that will be exempt from the application of the law; the institutional framework has been set up, with the creation of the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal; the final version of the Competition Commission’s first six Guidelines is expected to see the light anytime now, following the publication of initial drafts in October 2014 and revised drafts in March 2015; and a draft leniency policy for cartels has just been announced, with a public consultation currently underway.
This article examines whether the new law is adequately equipped to tackle cartels in Hong Kong, and it does so by focusing on the penalties available under the Ordinance. Cartels are contrary to the First Conduct Rule, whi…