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Business Articles Awards > Asian Antitrust

The Changing Landscape of Vertical Restraints in China

Stephen Crosswell et al., International Antitrust Bulletin, March 2017, Vol. 1

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Hong Kong has consistently won accolades for its free market and light-touch approach to regulation. Both the Heritage Foundation and the Fraser Institute have ranked it as the world’s freest economy, in the case of the Heritage Foundation for the 23rd consecutive year. Indeed, it can be argued that this light-touch approach is not a matter of policy discretion but a legal requirement. Hong Kong’s written constitution, the Basic Law, which was adopted when the UK returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, itself constitutionally mandates that “the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.” Against this non-interventionist background, it is perhaps not a surprise that it took a long time for Hong Kong to enact a cross-sector competition law. Hong Kong’s policy-makers were, for a long time, skeptical of such economic regulation, regarding it as inconsistent with Hong Kong’s laissez-faire market system. Hong Kong’s competition law came fully into force in December 2015. However, it was a highly controversial law, which passed by a bare majority in the Legislative Council and the scope of which remains a topic of considerable controversy.

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