ASEAN Enhances Capacity in Resolving Vertical Agreement Cases

Jakarta – A “Workshop on Competition Issues in Manufacturer-Distributor-Retailer Restraints: A Comparison and Hypothetical Application of Different Approaches in ASEAN Member States (AMS) and the United States” was convened from 19-21 January in the Indonesian capital. The workshop aimed at understanding the different statutes addressing vertical agreements amongst AMS and the US, as well as to identify a common approach to investigate vertical agreement cases.

Mr Nawir Messi, Chairman of the Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU) of Indonesia, explained that the workshop is pertinent to enhance the skills and capacity of competition authorities, having an important role in the development of competition policy and law in ASEAN. Furthermore, Ms. Yap Lai Peng from the ASEAN Secretariat added that ASEAN integration would necessitate a robust competition regime to manage the outcomes from integration and ensure a level playing field amongst business players. 

“Cases against manufacturers and distributors or retailers for vertical restraints are rare both in ASEAN and the United States. Nevertheless they are important considering the sheer number of complaints received by competition agencies on potential vertical restraint cases,” said Mr. Timothy Hughes, workshop facilitator, from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The highly-interactive workshop deliberated on the essential elements required to plan and conduct investigations, which include building theory of harm, conducting interviews, collecting evidence, and the steps required to determine anti-competitive violations. In addition, the AMS shared their views and experiences on the challenges in conducting investigations, the steps taken to strengthen the investigation procedures and the remedies.

The workshop was hosted by the KPPU of Indonesia with the support from the United States Agency for International Development and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.