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Positive Feedback on the Competition Bill Forum

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The Chamber organized a very important forum on October 6 to discuss businesses’ concerns about the Competition Bill. I am pleased to see that the media has taken a keen interest in the debate, and that government officials were open to suggestions. Hearing the views of speakers as well as those of the audience.

There had been some misconception that only big businesses were concerned about the Competition Bill, when in fact most SMEs are very worried about the Bill. To encourage business owners to present their concerns, we decided to organize this conference in cooperation with not only the other big trade organizations in Hong Kong, but also with the Business & Professionals Alliance, which holds 12 votes in Legco, as well as organizations representing small and medium business.

The Chamber has been calling for a number of key amendments to improve the Competition Bill and to allay the concerns of SMEs. At the forum, Chamber Chairman Anthony Wu outlined the proposed amendments which all business organizations, both large and small, agreed made good sense.

We were happy to hear that the government official at the forum said they were aware of businesses’ concerns, and they were working on a revised Bill. Linda Lai, Deputy Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, told members at the forum that the government had heard the five key concerns of businesses and that government would release their compromised proposals that take into account these concerns later this year.  The five areas, which largely coincide with what the Chamber has been lobbying government on, are: 

- improving the clarity of the provisions of the bill;

- inserting threshold provisions to exempt SMEs;

- removing the procedure for stand-alone private actions;

- lowering the penalty of 10% of global turnover; and

- excluding mergers from the current remit of the legislation.  

You can read about these in more detail in our press release.  All in all, it was a very productive forum for all participants. We look forward to seeing the government’s positive feedback being translated into the revised bill to be put forward, so that the Competition Bill could genuinely benefit the business community and propel Hong Kong’s economic growth.

Posted on 2011/10/07