Thursday, February 15, 2007

Oh Oh !

"It is difficult to imagine Hong Kong not introducing a competition law soon as the city is lagging behind even places such as Papua New Guinea, one of England's foremost experts in the field says. Nicholas Green QC yesterday told a seminar organised by the Asian Competition Forum and the Civic Party that various forms of competition law had been in place for years in countries such as India and South Korea...

Even Papua New Guinea had had the legislation in place since 2002, Mr Green said. He believed Hong Kong, which this month ended a three-month consultation on a competition policy, would follow the international trend."

That is from a story in today's edition of SCMP, read more here.

In the 1950s and 1960s, it was fashionable for a lot of developing countries to pursue absurd economic policies like import substitution, industrial policies and economic planning, would Mr Green consider it a mistake that HK did not follow that "international trend" back then?

When protectionism was in vogue, would Mr Green advise HK to follow that "international trend" as well?

1 comment:

Peter said...

I agree.

I suspect that Mr Green was just playfully attempting to ignite the competitive spirit of the Hong Kong legislature and dare them to introduce the law so as to keep up with our distant and, impliedly, less developed neighbours.

It is a bait not worth taking, and I am sure the entertainment value of his suggestion has by now been fully realised.

This shouldn't detract from the importance of assessing the experiences of other countries - and indeed of reviewing the history of competition law as an institution that goes back to before 2000BC, as Mr Green pointed out last night.

Even Mr Work, a representative of the Lion Rock Institue who was a panelist, referred to overseas experience (as one must) in describing the potential problems of introducing comprehensive competition laws in Hong Kong.

There is something inherent in all of this that suggests a serious look at our present competition policy (and making comparisons with other jurisdictions) is a worthwhile pursuit, even if ultimately no new laws result from it.

Of course, we should only do so on our own terms, as Mr Green made clear at the end of his talk, although this was not mentioned in any detail in the SCMP report.