Cambodia: Issue of Sub-Decree on the Organization and Functioning of the Competition Commission
On 17 February 2022, the Royal Government of Cambodia issued the Sub-Decree on the Organization and Functioning of the Cambodia Competition Commission (“CCC“) (No. 37 ANKR.BK) (“Sub-Decree“). The Sub-Decree provides the structure and function for the Cambodia Competition Commission, the regulatory authority designated under the Law on Competition.
At writing, the CCC members have not yet been appointed and there are a number of internal rules, procedures and decisions that will be required before the CCC and its secretariat will be fully implemented.
The Sub-Decree sets out the initial composition of the CCC as follows:
- Chairman – Minister of Commerce;
- Permanent Vice-Chairman – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce;
- Vice-Chairman – Secretary of State of the Office of the Council of Ministers;
- Vice-Chairman – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance;
- Vice-Chairman – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior;
- Member – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation;
- Member – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Justice;
- Member – Secretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications;
- Member – Representative from the National Bank of Cambodia;
- Member – Former judge;
- Members – 2 Individuals with legal knowledge and experience;
- Members – 2 Individuals with economic knowledge and experience;
- Member – Director General of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (“CCF”).
While the Sub-Decree contemplates 15 members for the CCC, the CCC may request additional members if needed. The Sub-Decree sets out the appointment/selection process for the CCC and, further to this process, an invitation has been circulated for applications to be submitted for appointment of independent members as a former judge or an individual with legal or economic knowledge. The initial deadline for these applications was extended from 20th of April to 20th of May 2022, which will impact the deadline for the appointment of commissioners previously expected to occur in June 2022.
Membership may be changed or terminated on death of a member, at the request of the Head of relevant ministry or institution, if the member is convicted of any competition-related offense or any misdemeanor or criminal offences or by vote to dismiss by 2/3 of CCC members present if the member being voted on is physically or mentally incapacitated or has shown inappropriate behavior as a member of CCC.
The Sub-Decree sets out the functions and duties of the CCC and largely echoes the language of Article 6 of the Law on Competition which also does this. Differences in the Sub-Decree clarify that:
- the power to issue decisions, interim measures and impose fines relates to “agreements or activities which violated the law on competition including any business combination which prevents, restricts, or distorts competition”;
- the power to receive, review and resolve complaints “related to competition as stated in the Law on Competition”; and
- the CCC can “perform other duties assigned by the Prime Minister”.
The Sub-Decree provides that the CCC shall hold plenary meeting at least 4 times a year and that Chairman may delegate a Vice-Chairman to chair meetings in his absence. Decisions shall be made by majority vote of members present at a meeting and the Chair has a casting vote. Working procedures will be determined by internal rules.
The Sub-Decree states that members with a conflict of interest must withdraw from a CCC meeting or, if they refuse, the CCC shall vote after hearing from the allegedly conflicted member(s).
The Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General is appointed as secretariat of the CCC with its functions and duties to be determined by CCC decision.
Finally, the Sub-Decree provides for Competition Case Committees to be appointed to examine competition cases and request a decision from the CCC. A Competition Case Committee must have 3-5 members which shall include the Chair of the Committee, the Director-General of the CCF and at least one of the independent CCC members.
If you have any questions with respect to this update or any other issue in relation to Cambodia’s competition regime and its implications for your business, please feel free to contact David Fruitman, Regional Competition Counsel, ([email protected]) or Vansok Khem, Partner, ([email protected]).
The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.
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