Gilbert + Tobin and its Chinese partner law firm, King & Wood, have advised the Hong Kong Government on the policy development work which formed the basis of Hong Kong's first cross-sector Competition Bill, gazetted and tabled in Hong Kong's Legislative Council on 14 July 2010.
The joint team was lead by partners Ronald Arculli and Peter Waters.
The Bill will establish an economy-wide set of competition rules dealing with anti-competitive agreements and abuse of market power.
Hong Kong's competition law rules and regulations currently only apply to licensees in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries.
The Bill will also provide for the smooth transition of these sector-specific competition laws to the cross-sector competition law.
A Competition Commission and a Competition Tribunal will also be established in order to enforce the Bill. The Commission will be responsible for investigating allegations of anti-competitive conduct and grating exemptions based on economic grounds. The Tribunal will adjudicate whether breaches of the Bill have occurred and will hear appeals from the Commission exemption and leniency decisions. The Tribunal will also be a judicial body with scope for non-lawyers, such as economists, to sit with the judge.
Peter Waters said of the Bill: "[It] is built around three principles. First, it should reflect modern economic thinking about competition and regulation - for example, it does not automatically outlaw any conduct (i.e. on a per se basis). Second, it also should reflect Hong Kong's unique characteristics as a small, open market, which is a reason for the law to have a modest scope. Third, it should be capable of delivering business certainty, which is reflected in the mechanisms for individual and block exemptions."