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Cross-sector Competition Law Backed in HK
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A public consultation has found that the community backs a cross-sector competition law and the establishment of a competition commission, Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Henry Tang said Monday.

The Government will start drafting appropriate legislation, he said, adding that the Government will continue to engage the public to enhance their understanding of its content and implementation. It will take into account the concerns that have been raised by some respondents in drawing up a regulatory framework that suits Hong Kong.

He said the Government received 114 written submissions, 60 pro forma submissions and a 1,200-signature petition during the three-month-long consultation that began in November.

Many respondents said that anti-competitive conduct can occur in any sector and it would be unfair to target only certain sectors or industries for regulation.

Some respondents from the business sector have expressed concern that although the aim of such a law is to maintain a competitive environment, small and medium enterprises may become the target of complaints when the law is in place.

In a Legislative Council paper, the Government said the main aspects of the legislation might include the definition of anti-competitive conduct to be covered and the introduction of an appropriate prohibition against such conduct; the establishment of a competition commission as the regulatory authority and a mechanism for exempting from the application of the law conduct that was considered to be in the wider economic or public interest.

The legislation might also include provisions related to confidentiality and a leniency program; and the penalties that are applicable to a breach of the prohibition against anti-competitive conduct, refusal to co-operate with investigations or unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

The Government will brief legislators on the details of the report at the meeting of Panel on Economic Services on March 26, Tang said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)

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