We delve into the antitrust issues that are currently top-of-mind in the region. Our series of podcasts feature practical insights from our Antitrust & Competition team and competition authorities in Asia Pacific.

The “In the Know”: Interviews with competition authorities in Asia Pacific podcast series is prepared by the Baker McKenzie Asia-Pacific Antitrust & Competition Practice Group. Each episode will feature enforcers from a competition authority in the Asia Pacific region, who will share with us their unique views on competition enforcement priorities, and the key developments in competition policy and law enforcement in their jurisdiction. Be in the know, listen to our podcast and get up to speed on competition policy and law developments in the Asia-Pacific region on the go.

Episode 1: Interview with Commissioner Amabelle Ascuncion from the Philippine Competition Commission | 22 July 2020

In the first episode, we welcome Commissioner Amabelle Asuncion from the Philippine Competition Commission to share with us:

(a) [03:17 mark] A brief update on the PCC’s enforcement activities and sector focuses in the first half of H1 2020
(b) [12:43 mark] How the PCC managed the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of its enforcement and advocacy work
(c) [21:04 mark]The PCC’s priorities for the 2nd half of 2020 given the economic uncertainties brought about by COVID-19
(d) [24:56 mark] Key competition compliance messages and takeaways for businesses operating in the Philippines

Commissioner Amabelle Asuncion was appointed as a Commissioner in January 2017. She has extensive experience in both commercial and corporate practice within the context of private and public sector issues. Prior to joining the PCC, she served in various capacities, including as advocacy adviser, director for legal and regulatory affairs, legislative officer, adjudication chief, as well as a law professor.

This podcast series was prepared by the Baker McKenzie Tokyo Competition Practice Group in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Antitrust enforcement across the world continues to be very active, with some antitrust enforcers commencing investigations that are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses should keep abreast of these developments, in order to quickly adapt to the changing regulatory climate. Each episode covers the high-level antitrust enforcement trend of a specific geographic region, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the work processes and enforcement priorities of the competition authorities in that region. Key members from our local competition teams will also share insights to help businesses ensure that their global operations continue to comply with local competition laws during this period.


Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in the United Kingdom
UK: Specialist interview with Mara Ghiorghies | 29 May 2020

Mara Ghiorghies, senior associate of the Baker McKenzie Antitrust & Competition Practice Group in the United Kingdom joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed how the UK CMA responded to the COVID-19 pandemic such as establishing a COVID-19 task force, and issuing exemption orders and guidance note on essential business cooperation. The episode also contains discussion on the UK CMA’s recent enforcement cases, the Amazon/Deliveroo merger where the failing firm defence was accepted, and its ongoing deliberation on whether to extend director disqualifications from cartels to all types of competition law infringements. Lastly, they discussed the importance of providing timely and complete responses to information requests from the UK CMA given the recent penalties imposed, and the impact of the Brexit on investigations and merger control.

Latin America: Specialist interview with Paulo Casagrande
Antirust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in Latin America | 22 May 2020

Paulo Casagrande*, the leader of the Baker McKenzie Antitrust & Competition Practice Group in Brazil joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed how Latin American antitrust enforcers have responded to COVID-19 pandemic such as launching price-gouging investigations, and issuing COVID-19 pandemic specific guidelines on horizontal collaboration agreements to prevent shortages. The episode also contains discussion on how businesses involved in ongoing merger and acquisition transactions should adapt to the operational and regulatory challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
*Content prepared in cooperation with Trench Rossi Watanabe, a Brazilian law firm.

Africa: Specialist interview with Lerisha Naidu
Antirust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in Africa | 18 May 2020

Lerisha Naidu, a partner in the Baker McKenzie Antitrust & Competition Practice Group in Johannesburg joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed competition policy and law developments in Africa and the growing importance of regional cooperation arrangements between competition authorities in the region. The episode also contains discussion on the extra-territorial application of competition laws, amendments to South Africa’s competition laws, and the relevance of public interest considerations and remedies in merger control assessment in African jurisdictions such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia and, Zimbabwe.

Hong Kong & China: Specialist interview with Stephen Crosswell
Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in China and Hong Kong | 7 May 2020

Stephen Crosswell, Chair of the Baker McKenzie Asia-Pacific Antitrust & Competition Practice Group joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed the key differences between the competition regimes in China and Hong Kong and the leniency regimes administered by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, and the Hong Kong Competition Commission. The episode also contains discussion on the ongoing legislative amendment reviews, and the two competition authorities’ competition enforcement priorities, and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southeast Asia: Specialist interview with Harikumar Pillay
Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in Southeast Asia | 23 April 2020

Harikumar Pillay, a principal in the Baker McKenzie Singapore Competition Practice Group joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed competition policy and law developments across 10 Southeast Asian countries, and the differences across these competition regimes. The episode also contains discussion on competition enforcement cooperation between competition authorities in the Southeast Asia region, recent cartel enforcement cases and recent legislative reforms in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Japan: Specialist interview with Akira Inoue
Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in Japan | 15 April 2020

This episode is in Japanese. The episode features Dr. Akira Inoue, a partner in the Baker McKenzie Tokyo Competition Practice Group. Dr. Inoue shared his insights on the 2019 amendments of the Antimonopoly Act in Japan, and the Japan Fair Trade Commission’s public consultation exercise in April 2020 to align its existing antitrust rules and guidelines with the amendments in the Antimonopoly Act. He also highlighted the Japan Fair Trade Commission’s statements that were issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as intra-industry cooperation for the distribution of emergency supplies, and price-gouging conduct.

US: Specialist interview with Mark Hamer
Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in the United States | 8 April 2020

Mark Hamer, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie’s Antitrust & Competition Practice Group joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected merger review processes, and how antitrust enforcers in the United States are likely to enforce antitrust laws against cartels and price gouging conduct involving healthcare supplies. The episode also contains discussion on recent enforcement trends in the United States such as the generic drug price-fixing cartel, no poach agreements, and digital platforms’ conduct.

EU: Specialist interview with Kurt Haegeman
Antitrust Enforcement Highlights and Trends in the EU | 1 April 2020

Kurt Haegeman a member of the steering committee of Baker McKenzie’s Global Consumer Goods and Retail Industry Group, and the Global Cartel Task Force and European Competition Law Practice Group joins Dr. Akira Inoue in this episode. They discussed how competition authorities in the EU have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic such as providing informal guidance to businesses, and granting temporary limited exemptions for certain types of cooperation between businesses operating in the transport, healthcare and grocery sectors. The episode also contains discussion on the recent enforcement trends in the EU, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on merger notification review processes, and the impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom’s merger control regime.