In brief

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is updating six of its competition guidelines, to educate and inform businesses and competition practitioners by refining and clarifying the analytical and procedural frameworks employed by the CCCS in administering and enforcing the Competition Act (Cap. 50B) (the “Act“) in Singapore. The CCCS is conducting a public consultation for feedback on its proposed amendments to the competition guidelines in respect of the treatment of intellectual property rights, market definition, section 47 prohibition (abuse of a dominant position), enforcement, substantive assessment of mergers and merger procedures (“Public Consultation“). The closing date for submissions is 8 October 2020.


Contents

Comments

This Public Consultation represents the CCCS’s major overhaul of its competition guidelines, to keep pace with the fast-moving digital age and the legal developments within Singapore. The last major review of the CCCS’s competition guidelines was in 2016.

The CCCS’s proposed amendments to its guidelines relating to market definition, section 47 prohibition (abuse of a dominant position) and substantive assessment of mergers, are aimed at addressing competition issues that are pertinent in this digital era, such as those relating to multi-sided platforms and consumption synergies on e-commerce platforms. This is in line with the CCCS’s increasing focus on the digital sector, as stated in their media release on the E-Commerce Platform Market Study (see here).

As the COVID-19 pandemic catalyses business digitalisation in Singapore and the region, we expect the CCCS to continue its focus on competition issues in the digital sector well into 2021. Businesses should consider reviewing their existing operations and competition compliance programmes, bearing in mind the proposed amendments to the guidelines.

For further information and to discuss what this development might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

In more detail

On 10 September 2020, the CCCS commenced the Public Consultation on the following proposed amendments:

GuidelineSummary of key proposed amendments
CCCS Guidelines on the Treatment of Intellectual Property RightsClarifications on the relationship between intellectual property and competition law
CCCS Guidelines on Market DefinitionClarifications on issues related to market definition, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on the Section 47 ProhibitionClarifications on issues related to assessment of market power and types of abusive conduct, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on Enforcement, to be renamed as CCCS Guidelines Remedies, Directions and PenaltiesGive effect to the legislative amendments to the Act relating to commitments and remedies and reflect the current commitments and remedies practices of the CCCS
CCCS Guidelines on the Substantive Assessment of MergersGuidance for businesses, consumers and competition practitioners on assessment of mergers, prompted by the digital sector
CCCS Guidelines on Merger ProceduresClarifications on the process of merger filing notifications and to reflect current merger filing practices of the CCCS

These proposed amendments were, amongst others, guided and informed by the following:

  1. Legislative amendments to the Act in 2018
  2. Findings and recommendations from the E-commerce Platforms Market Study (read about it here)
  3. The experience of the CCCS in implementing the Act since some of the competition guidelines were revised in December 2016
  4. Public feedback
  5. The evolving legal landscape of Singapore
  6. International best practices

For more information, please refer to the consultation document (see here) and the corresponding media release (see here).

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