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In brief

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is updating six of its competition guidelines, to educate and inform businesses and competition practitioners by refining and clarifying the analytical and procedural frameworks employed by the CCCS in administering and enforcing the Competition Act (Cap. 50B) (the “Act“) in Singapore. The CCCS is conducting a public consultation for feedback on its proposed amendments to the competition guidelines in respect of the treatment of intellectual property rights, market definition, section 47 prohibition (abuse of a dominant position), enforcement, substantive assessment of mergers and merger procedures (“Public Consultation“). The closing date for submissions is 8 October 2020.


Contents

Comments

This Public Consultation represents the CCCS’s major overhaul of its competition guidelines, to keep pace with the fast-moving digital age and the legal developments within Singapore. The last major review of the CCCS’s competition guidelines was in 2016.

The CCCS’s proposed amendments to its guidelines relating to market definition, section 47 prohibition (abuse of a dominant position) and substantive assessment of mergers, are aimed at addressing competition issues that are pertinent in this digital era, such as those relating to multi-sided platforms and consumption synergies on e-commerce platforms. This is in line with the CCCS’s increasing focus on the digital sector, as stated in their media release on the E-Commerce Platform Market Study (see here).

As the COVID-19 pandemic catalyses business digitalisation in Singapore and the region, we expect the CCCS to continue its focus on competition issues in the digital sector well into 2021. Businesses should consider reviewing their existing operations and competition compliance programmes, bearing in mind the proposed amendments to the guidelines.

For further information and to discuss what this development might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

In more detail

On 10 September 2020, the CCCS commenced the Public Consultation on the following proposed amendments:

Guideline Summary of key proposed amendments
CCCS Guidelines on the Treatment of Intellectual Property Rights Clarifications on the relationship between intellectual property and competition law
CCCS Guidelines on Market Definition Clarifications on issues related to market definition, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on the Section 47 Prohibition Clarifications on issues related to assessment of market power and types of abusive conduct, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on Enforcement, to be renamed as CCCS Guidelines Remedies, Directions and Penalties Give effect to the legislative amendments to the Act relating to commitments and remedies and reflect the current commitments and remedies practices of the CCCS
CCCS Guidelines on the Substantive Assessment of Mergers Guidance for businesses, consumers and competition practitioners on assessment of mergers, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on Merger Procedures Clarifications on the process of merger filing notifications and to reflect current merger filing practices of the CCCS

These proposed amendments were, amongst others, guided and informed by the following:

  1. Legislative amendments to the Act in 2018
  2. Findings and recommendations from the E-commerce Platforms Market Study (read about it here)
  3. The experience of the CCCS in implementing the Act since some of the competition guidelines were revised in December 2016
  4. Public feedback
  5. The evolving legal landscape of Singapore
  6. International best practices

For more information, please refer to the consultation document (see here) and the corresponding media release (see here).

Author

Author

Hari is a principal in the Competition & Antitrust Practice Group at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow. His practice covers competition law and regulation-related advisory work in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region. Hari was the Director of the Enforcement Division at the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore ("CCCS"), where he supervised the CCCS’s Intelligence Unit and IT Forensics Taskforce, in addition to the supervision of case teams on various investigations, mergers and notifications. He was also responsible for managing leniency applications made to the CCCS, overseeing the secret complainant and reward schemes, planning and executing dawn raids, and recording investigative statements of persons under investigations. Hari led teams involved in defending appeals brought against the CCCS’s decisions before the Competition Appeals Board. Prior to joining the Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, Hari completed stints in private practice and as a Justices' Law Clerk with the Singapore Legal Service.

Author

Lip Hang Poh is a Competition Economist in Baker McKenzie's Singapore office.

Author

Jordan Tong is an associate in Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow Singapore office.