First competition law trial might surface in 2016, says expert

Competition law expert Marc Waha said Hong Kong might hear its first competition law case in 2016, after the ordinance is expected to kick in late-2014. This takes into account an estimated year of investigations after the law takes effect, and some more time to see if disputes may first be settled out of court.

Competition law expert Marc Waha said Hong Kong might hear its first competition law case in 2016, after the ordinance is expected to kick in late-2014. This takes into account an estimated year of investigations after the law takes effect, and some more time to see if disputes may first be settled out of court.
Competition law expert Marc Waha said Hong Kong might hear its first competition law case in 2016, after the ordinance is expected to kick in late-2014. This takes into account an estimated year of investigations after the law takes effect, and some more time to see if disputes may first be settled out of court.

Talking at a media roundtable organised by GRMSearch, the Norton Rose Foreign Legal Consultant added that it may take a decade for mindsets to truly grasp the implications of the impending competition law. Citing the example of Singapore, which enacted its competition law in 2004, Mr. Waha said top executives currently running regional businesses out of the city-state are much more aware of competition law measures compared to a decade ago. It is, as he said, “much, much less of an ‘old boys’ club’ ” now in terms of potential cartel behavior.

Ultimately however, Mr. Waha added, there remains a gap between competition law and competition policy, the latter of which only the government can control. For example, new retail businesses coming into Hong Kong may not be able to find space because landlords here – who might also own competing retailing businesses - can choose whether or not to lease them space. This is within their legal rights and is unlikely to be covered under the competition law. The government, on the other hand, said Mr. Waha, could decide to lease space in a retailing area it owns to certain new businesses to allow them to take root.


Hong Kong Lawyer

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