The ASEAN heads of competition agencies convened their 4th meeting in Palawan, the Philippines, to discuss guidelines and information system for sharing cases of business mergers and acquisitions in member countries.

The Cambodian delegation was led by Phan Oun, head of the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF).

The March 13-17 meeting will lay the groundwork for a post-2025 competition action plan (CAP), which identifies activities for the next 20 years.

“The conference is an opportunity for the heads of ASEAN competition agencies to meet and discuss the outcome of the 1st meeting on ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition [AFAC], the key deliverables of the 2025 ASEAN Competition Action Plan [ACAP] and the post-2025 CAP,” said a CCF statement.

Oun said the AFAC is being negotiated at the technical level by the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC), which is slated to conclude and submit it to the ASEAN Heads of Competition Agencies meeting in the second quarter of 2024.

“We laid out many items that we intend to discuss in the future. The agreement will serve as a formal cooperation mechanism to facilitate cross-border cooperation and coordination on policy issues and law on competition among ASEAN member states,” he told The Post on March 14.

Oun said Cambodian officials also met with several dialogue partners to receive technical assistance from countries such as Australia and Germany.

In November 2019, Cambodia hosted the 8th ASEAN Competition Conference, although it had not yet drafted a competition law at the time.

The Law on Competition was passed and promulgated in October 2021.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak explained at the time that the law would contribute to fair competition, the creation of new businesses and protect consumers’ interests.

“It is especially suited to a fast-changing business environment, in terms of e-commerce, and other evolving technology,” he said.