Competition is crucial in driving economic growth. This was highlighted during the Competition Dialogue Series entitled "The Role of Competition Order in Economic Growth" conducted at the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) in the beginning of the year.
The dialogue series, organised by the the Executive Secretariat of the Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD), was aimed to create awareness about the underlying concept of competition in the operation of a well-functioning market, and the enforcement of the Competition Order to create more opportunities for businesses and to maintain a fair marketplace.
The sessions also took the opportunity to inspire and stimulate interest of undergraduates and academia from UNISSA and UBD to undertake research in competition law and policy, considering the relevance and importance of the subject in achieving Brunei Darussalam's long-term economic vision of a dynamic and sustainable economic growth.
In attendance during the sessions were the Chair of the CCBD, Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii. Also present during the session with UBD was Commissioner of the CCBD, Yang Mulia Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, Assistance Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Global Affairs) of UBD.
The sessions began with a lecture delivered by competition advisor, Dr Hassan Qaqaya, former Head of Competition and Consumer Policies in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne teaching International Trade and Competition Policy. This is followed by a presentation on the development of Brunei Competition Order from the Executive Secretariat of the CCBD.
Dr Hassan Qaqaya underlined that competition is a process in a journey towards achieving market efficiency. Effective implementation of competition policy and law will encourage businesses to be innovative, productive, and compete on a fair-level playing field resulting in goods and services being provided to consumers at competitive prices. In fulfilling the potential of competition to contribute to economic growth, it is crucial to also have in place policies which are coherent with the principle of competition. In encouraging local start-ups amongst the UBD entrepreneurship incubators, Dr Hassan Qaqaya highlighted on the need to exercise extra care in managing business information as sharing commercially sensitive information could pose a threat to competition.
Insights on the scope and key prohibitions of Brunei Competition Order were presented by the Executive Secretariat of the CCBD. The first key prohibition on Anti-Competitive Agreements, commonly known as cartel, came into force beginning this year. Cartels refer to agreements made by two or more businesses to fix price; share market; limit supply and collude in tender process. The Executive Secretariat took the opportunity to encourage universities to visit the Virtual ASEAN Competition Research Centre (https://asean-competition.org/research/) and to partake in research to develop local expertise on competition issues.
Also participating a guest speaker in the dialogue session with UBD was a Senior Legal Advisor at the Indonesia Competition Commission, Mr Mohammad Reza. Mr Mohammad Reza, through a forum-based discussion during the session, touched on Indonesia's experience in the early stage of implementing competition law, with highlights on collusive tender.
The sessions ended with very encouraging and active dialogue amongst the attendees discussing topics on, including the application of the Competition Order and the impact of competition in the digital economy.
The dialogue sessions were held at UNISSA and UBD respectively, participated by over more than 50 attendees comprising of undergraduates from the field of legal, economics, finance and business, as well as academia and administrative personnel.
The Executive Secretariat of CCBD can be reached through email at email@example.com or call 2233344 extension 230, 341 or 343 for any inquiries and request for briefings on the Competition Order.