Competition Commission of Singapore
The Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) was established on 1 January 2005 to administer and enforce the Competition Act (the “Act”) (Chapter 50B). On 1 April 2018, CCS was renamed the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) and took on an additional function of administering the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (Chapter 52A). In relation to the Act, besides investigating and enforcing against practices that have an adverse effect on competition in Singapore, CCCS also represents Singapore in respect of competition matters in the international arena. In addition, CCCS has a statutory duty to advise the government or other public authority on national needs and policies in respect of competition matters generally.
The functions and duties of the CCCS are to:
(a) Maintain and enhance efficient market conduct and promote overall productivity, innovation, and competitiveness of markets in Singapore.
(b) Eliminate or control practices having adverse effect on competition in Singapore.
(c) Promote and sustain competition in markets in Singapore.
(d) Promote a strong competitive culture and environment throughout the economy in Singapore.
(e) Act internationally as the national body representative of Singapore in respect of competition matters and consumer protection matters;
(f) Promote fair trading practices among suppliers and consumers and enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions in Singapore;
(g) Prevent suppliers in Singapore from engaging in unfair practices;
(h) Administer and enforce the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (Cap 52A); and
(i) Advise the Government, other public authorities or consumer protection organisations on national needs and policies in respect of competition matters and consumer protection matters generally.
These functions are supported by the various divisions in CCCS, which include the Business and Economics, Consumer Protection, Corporate Affairs, Enforcement, International and Strategic Planning, Legal, and Policy and Markets.
As part of its role as Singapore’s competition authority, the CCCS also works with its foreign counterparts to promote competition by mitigating non-tariff barriers, building the necessary capacities and rendering technical assistance. The CCCS also cooperates with its foreign counterparts on cross-border competition matters. Such co-operation includes:
(a) Entering into agreements with foreign competition agencies, eg, negotiating FTAs with competition chapters to establish a level playing field for businesses.
(b) Forging strategic engagements with key foreign counterparts to foster closer cooperation in competition-related matters.
(c) Participating and contributing actively at the various international competition fora to shape the development and implementation of best practices in competition policy and law.
(d) Monitoring emerging competition trends and developments, and identifying international best practices, to operate a robust and enlightened competition regime in Singapore.
CCCS matters are usually handled by local counsel, but a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (“QFLP”) can also assist a client with CCCS matters in limited ways.
A QFLP can provide legal advice and make representations, including oral representations, on behalf of their clients for all matters before CCCS staff, but only (1) through lawyers registered under s 36B or s 36E of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 2009 Rev Ed), and (2) strictly within the permitted areas of legal practice as provided under rule 4 of the Legal Profession (Regulated Individuals) Rules 2015. A QFLP should provide these details when they first contact the CCCS.