The Competition Law needs to be passed as soon as possible to upgrade the country’s competitiveness and curb unfair market and trade practices to make the country more prepared for the emergent one-ASEAN market expected to be fully in place by 2015.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) reiterated this concern, through a statement issued by PCCI President Alfredo M. Yao recently.
Yao warned that without a competition law in place, the country would be at a disadvantage . Passing the bill should be a top priority as time is running out, he said.
“If we give our neighbors a difficult time to do business here, they will also give us a hard time accessing the ASEAN market of 600 million consumers.”
Yao stressed that the proposed legislation, which is expected to prevent anti-competitive business practice, abuse of market power, and anti-competitive mergers, are seen to promote a more open environment for investments, innovation and pricing.
The proposed law, embodied in Senate Bill 3197, provides for stiff penalties for those who would violate the restrictions against cartelization, monopolization, abuse of monopoly power and other unfair trade and business practices.
Competition law, or antitrust law, has three main elements: (1) prohibiting agreements or practices that restrict free trading and competition between business. This includes in particular the repression of free trade caused by cartels; (2) banning abusive behavior by a firm dominating a market, or anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position. Practices controlled in this way may include predatory pricing, tying, price gouging, refusal to deal, and many others.; and (3) supervising the mergers and acquisitions of large corporations, including some joint ventures.
Competition law is closely connected with law on deregulation of access to markets, state aids and subsidies, the privatization of state owned assets and the establishment of independent sector regulators, among other market-oriented supply-side policies.
It is also expected to level the playing field for new entrants , small businesses, and current investors wishing to expand or diversify their investments in the domestic market.
Photo: from businessgross.com