Thursday, July 22, 2010

Response to Dan Ryan: "Competition Law Will Benefit Hong Kong "

In a letter to the WSJ dated July 20, 2010, Andrew Simpson and Marc Waha responded to Dan Ryan's article "Competition Law and (Dis)order" with the following claims:
  • Dan Ryan exaggerates the "vagueness and arbitrariness" of Hong Kong's proposed competition law; most businesses can pinpoint the distinction between when they are competing and when they are collaborating or exerting their market power.
  • In more than 100 countries with competition law, businesses have not been led to seek clearance from competition authorities for everything they do; this is a fairly small portion of a competition authority's operations, in general.
  • Competition law will not radically change Hong Kong's free market tradition, but rather it will better protect it from those who seek to extract profits in ways that subvert competition.
Regardless of what particular views one may have on the economic arguments, it is impossible to accept the Competition Bill as its drafted. The legislation gives authorities wide-ranging powers, is more vague and broad, with less checks and balances than many international cases.There are many points to pick, but the bottom line is that this law is disastrous for the integrity of Hong Kong's legal system.

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