The Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) through its Executive Secretariat, the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs conducted a dialogue session on Competition Order 2015, earlier this month. In attendance were more than 20 officials from the Survey Department, Ministry of Development, licensed surveyors and members of Brunei Institute of Geomatics (B.I.G.)
The session was initiated by the Survey Department with the objectives to learn about the benefits of Competition Order, the key prohibitions and business do's and don'ts to comply with the Order.
During the opening, the Executive Secretariat to the CCBD emphasised that the Competition Order aims to promote a fair competitive process in the market towards achieving a more efficient market and better consumer welfare. With competition, businesses are incentivised to strive their best to compete for consumers through not just price but quality of goods and services. Enhanced business innovation and efficiency are expected through the fair competition process. As a result, consumers will benefit from wider choices with competitive prices and higher quality of goods and services.
The audience were briefed on the three key prohibitions of the Competition Order namely, (i) AntiCompetitive Agreements; (ii) Abuse of Dominant Position; and (iii) AntiCompetitive Mergers. The presentation covered the prohibition of Anti-Competitive Agreements in detail, with references made to some regional competition cases.
With the enforcement of Anti-Competitive Agreements, or also known as Cartels, beginning this year, businesses are prohibited to collude in price fixing, market sharing, limiting supply and bid rigging. Exchanging of commercially sensitive market information between two or more businesses on profit margins, future prices, and market strategies, may also raise concerns and risks of breaching the Competition Order 2015. This includes discussions made in meetings among the members of trade associations and professional bodies.
Also discussed during the session were tools to detect cartels, including the power of the CCBD to conduct market review in order to gain insights of the market functions and inspect for any competition issues in the market. It was also shared that the Competition Order provides a leniency provision which offers immunity to a member of a cartel who is the first to come forward in giving useful information and full cooperation to the CCBD. Complaint mechanism is also available, including online complaint form at the CCBD website, www.ccbd.gov.bn, to ease complainant to file its report.
The session followed with an interactive dialogue, deliberating on matters regarding scale of fees; tender practices; and local business development policy.
The handbook on Guidelines on Competition for Business and leaflet on Frequently Asked Questions on the Competition Order, published by the CCBD, were distributed to the audience.