Four new deliverables were introduced after a mid-term review of the original ASEAN Competition Action Plan 2016-2025. These include a new ASEAN Information Portal on Merger Cases, a new ASEAN Investigation Manual on Competition Policy and Law for the Digital Economy, initiatives to promote discussions between heads of competition authorities on the harmonization of competition policy and law, and a refreshed regional capacity building roadmap for 2021 to 2025.
The Fast Track Procedure (FTP) introduced in December 2016 by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has been applied for the first time in a bid-rigging decision involving three water features maintenance businesses (CU Water Services, Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor) (“Infringement Decision”). In exchange for admission of liability and cooperation with the CCCS in respect of their infringement of the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements under section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B), Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor benefitted from a 10% reduction on their respective penalties under the FTP. This is in addition to discounts made available to them under the CCCS’s leniency regime by virtue of their leniency applications.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has issued an infringement decision (“Infringement Decision”) against three businesses engaged in the provision of maintenance services for water features. CU Water Services , Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor (“Parties”) were directed to pay financial penalties totalling approximately S$420,000 for infringing section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B) and for participating in bid-rigging conduct relating to tenders called for the provision of maintenance services for pools, ponds, etc.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) accepted voluntary undertakings from the owners and operators of the “ABC Bargain Centre,” “Valu$” and “ABC Express” retail outlets (collectively “Parties”), to cease the use of “Closing Down Sale” and “Fire Sale” advertisements from 30 September 2020. The CCCS noted that using such advertisements when firms are neither ceasing operations nor are in financial distress can constitute an unfair practice in breach of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (Cap. 52A) (CPFTA) as they can mislead consumers into believing that there is a price benefit, which would only be available for a limited period.
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.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) issued the Guidelines on Price Transparency (“Guidelines”) to explain how it would interpret the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act (“CPFTA”) in relation to the display/advertisement of prices and pricing practices such as time-limited discounts, free offers and price comparisons. The Guidelines apply to all suppliers, whether operating online or in physical stores, and will come into effect on 1 November 2020.
The CCCS is also reviewing the CPFTA to enhance its enforcement powers.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is updating its competition guidelines to provide more clarity and guidance to businesses in the digital sector. This follows the commission’s e-commerce platform market study report (the “Study”) released on 10 September 2020. The CCCS’s public consultation exercise on the proposed changes to the guidelines is ongoing until 8 October 2020.
The CCCS also urged e-commerce platform operators to raise sellers’ awareness and understanding of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) and encouraged sellers to adopt its recommended “good trade practices.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply of essential goods and services around the world, including Singapore, and such disruptions have required competitors to temporarily collaborate to sustain or improve the supply of essential goods and services. To provide clarity on whether such collaborations will fall afoul of the Singapore Competition Act (Cap. 50B) (the “Act”), the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) has issued the “CCCS Guidance Note on Collaborations between Competitors in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” (“Guidance Note”).