Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Amending provisions on competition policy in free trade agreements (FTAs) and economic partnership agreements (EPAs) should be a top priority, participants said at the first working day of APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) at the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3) now being held in HCM City.
Around 100 delegatee from 21 APEC-member countries attended the workshop, where experts and lawyers spoke about the benefits of establishing an amended chapter on competition in FTAs and EPAs and its impact on domestic economies based on empirical research.
Marie Sherylyn D Aquia, chair of the CTI, said “There is a strong and complementary relationship between trade and competition policies. This is due to their similarity in objectives. Both trade and competition policies seek to enhance welfare by providing for more efficient allocation of resources, whether it is lowering trade barriers or promoting competition.”
“New, comprehensive economic or trade agreements now feature specific provisions or entire chapters to competition-related matters,” she added.
Satoshi Ogawa, a lawyer specialising in competition issues in the OECD competition division, said “Now as never before, it is important to include competition provisions in FTAs and EPAs in the globalised economy.”
As international cooperation is needed to fight anti-competitive conduct beyond national borders, these amended provisions would benefit competition authorities and the business community, he added.
Meeting participants also discussed challenges facing each economy in negotiating the chapter on competition.
“Competition laws and competition authorities are still new in some of the APEC economies. APEC is making guidelines and a database to share competition information among APEC members,” said Hiroshi Kuro, senior deputy director of the FTA/EPA Negotiations Economic Partnership at the Investment Policy Division of the Economic Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“APEC has an important role in promoting the competition chapter,” he said.
CTI, established in November 1993 under the APEC Trade and Investment Framework, provides a forum for APEC’s 21 member economies to discuss trade and policy issues. — VNS