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The Philippine Competition Commission hosts the final round of negotiations for the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition

21 June 2024
News Philippines

MANILA, 21 June 2024 - The 12th and final negotiation round for the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition (AFAC) took place from 13-14 June, in Manila, Philippines. It was hosted by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), with PCC Commissioner Lolibeth Ramit-Medrano as chair of the AFAC negotiations.

“Our collective sense of purpose in working towards regional economic integration has guided us through challenging areas to acceptable middle ground. I am exceedingly grateful for everyone's flexibility, constructive engagement, cooperation, and utmost good faith throughout the negotiation process which enabled us to fulfill our mandate within the given timeline,” said Medrano in her address thanking the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC).

The AFAC aims to: (i) foster a fair and competitive business environment in ASEAN and enhance economic efficiency and inclusive growth and development, (ii) enhance cooperation and coordination, particularly in investigative activities and enforcement activities, (iii) promote the internalisation of competition policy into regional and domestic economic policies, (iv) enhance the capacity of Member States to address anti-competitive activities and, (v) support regional economic integration, and contribute towards the creation of a competitive, innovative and dynamic ASEAN.

The launch of AFAC negotiations at the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting in September 2022 set an ambitious goal to conclude by mid-2024, a target that has been met with remarkable dedication and collaboration.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dr Kao Kim Hourn, commended the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC) for their unwavering efforts and timely conclusion of the AFAC negotiation. He remarked, "The AFAC is not merely a milestone but a strategic imperative for ASEAN’s economic future. It underscores our collective commitment to tackling anti-competitive practices and addressing the anticipated increase in cross-border competition cases. With AFAC in place, we are poised to establish and uphold fair market conditions that will significantly enhance ASEAN’s attractiveness as a premier destination for investment and business. This Agreement demonstrates ASEAN’s resolve to cultivate a dynamic and competitive economic environment where innovation and enterprise can flourish".

The finalization of the AFAC stands as a testament to ASEAN’s commitment to economic competitiveness and regional integration. By setting a robust framework for competition, ASEAN reaffirms its united position in the global economy on fair and efficient market practices, driving sustainable growth and prosperity across the region.