Antitrust in non-democratic regimes

Emerging Trend in Competition Law in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from Myanmar and Thailand

Ploykaew Porananond, Po Ma Ma Aung. World Competition (2019)

Abstract

Establishing a new competition law regime is never an easy task, especially for developing countries. The current literature of competition law is rich with suggestions on the best political economy preconditions conducive to an effective competition law regime. It is generally believed that countries with a democratic political regime and a stable rule of law are more inclined to enact national competition law. Moreover, countries that embrace the principle of trade liberalization, privatization, and market economy are a fertile ground to the growth of competition law.

Yet, the enactments of Myanmar competition law in 2015 and Thailand new competition law in 2017 deviate from this general understanding. Naturally, it is assumed that competition laws adopted in these countries would be starkly different from pre-existing competition laws. It hints towards an emerging trend of competition law, one which manages to enact and enforce competition law regardless of the reality of the local political economy. This article explains the cause and consequence of this deviation, without immaturely evaluating the effectiveness of such young regimes. It concludes with investigating the likely source behind it, specifically whether the ASEAN, in which both Myanmar and Thailand are Member States, is behind such phenomenon.

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