June 27, 2006, Bangkok, Press Release

Delegates from Asian countries are meeting here to discuss the competition policy and law issues in the region. The conference inaugurated by Siripol Yodmuangchareon, Director General of the Department of Internal Trade of Thailand will end on 28th June. Organised by CUTS International , an India-based international research and advocacy group, the meeting is also the Final Review Conference of an international project entitled, ‘Advocacy and Capacity Building on Competition Policy and Law in Asia’ (7Up2 Project) (www.cuts-international.org/7up2.htm).

The Project, implemented by CUTS and supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco), the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, is a multi-stakeholder initiative endeavouring to accelerate the process towards a functional competition policy and law for select countries in Southeast Asia and in South Asia, and advance the enabling environment for such law and policy to be better enforced. Under the project, detailed research was carried out in the select countries along side organising training programmes for the competition authority officials and representatives of other stakeholder groups.

The findings of the project, though based on select six countries of the region, do provide good lessons for other countries as well. Hence, meeting is being attended by delegates from entire Asia and beyond. Apart from the project partners representing leading civil society organisations, research institutions and consumer associations from the six project countries, the meeting is also drawing renowned experts on competition, representatives of inter-governmental organisations, and representatives of competition authorities.

Among others, Philippe Brusick, Head, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva; Marc Proksch of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP); Douglas Brooks of the Asian Development Bank, and Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International are speaking at the meet.

The conference would be followed by a three-day training programme on competition policy and law during 29th June to 1st July organised in the Bangkok Ambassador Hotel, by the CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC), an inititiave of CUTS International mandated to build capacity on competition and regulatory issues. The training will be attended by the members of the Asian chapter of the International Network of Civil Society Organisations on Competition (INCSOC), members of the Board of Trade of Thailand (BOT), and the Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT).