Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that since the full implementation of the Competition Ordinance (“the Ordinance”) in December 2015, the Commission had received and processed over 2 800 complaints and enquiries. Among them, around 180 complaints were assessed further. The Commission had referred 25 cases to other law enforcement agencies and the Competition Policy Advisory Group, and it had filed two cases in the Competition Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) during the period. He was of the view that the percentage of cases being further processed/ referred/ brought to the Tribunal was rather low, and cast doubt on the deterrent effect of the Commission’s enforcement work.
Mr Brent SNYDER of the Commission advised that the Commission was optimistic about a number of investigations in the pipeline. The Commission was relatively new and the Ordinance had only been in effect for a limited period of time. Thus, the Commission had to undertake some investigations where the relevant conduct occurred before the effective date of the Ordinance. He pointed out that to the Commission’s observation, some cartels that existed had stopped before the Ordinance came into effect.
Litigation work and resources of the Competition Commission
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Government would provide the Commission with a dedicated funding of $238 million for supporting the Commission’s litigation work. He sought information on how the Commission was going to spend the money and whether the funding would be given to the Commission in one go or in phases. Furthermore, he suggested that relevant performance indicators such as the shortened time taken to process a case and the increase in the number of cases processed should be set with regard to the provision of the funding in order to facilitate the effective use of the money.
Ms Anna WU of the Commission advised that the dedicated funding would be provided to the Commission in phases over a five-year period. Details on the disbursement and replenishment of the funding were still subject to the discussion between the Government and the Commission. The Commission would have to discuss with the Government the provision of further funding when the $238 million funding was nearly used up. To facilitate public monitoring of the Commission’s litigation work, the Commission would issue annual reports in which relevant information was included, as well as issue press release for every litigation case. Depending on the need and details of individual cases, the Commission would consider providing the public with more information on certain cases through other means.