The object of this Act is to consolidate, review and revise the law relating to fair trading, competition, and consumer protection in order to align and harmonise it with international best practices. In that pursuit, this Act seeks to repeal the Fair-Trading Commission Act (Cap 267), the Fair Competition Act (Cap 266), and the Consumer Protection Act (Cap 257).
The Fair-Trading Commission is being established as the central institutional organ for the effective administration of the Act. The Commission is enjoined amongst other functions with enforcing compliance with the Act, advising the Government on laws affecting fair trading, competition, and consumer protection, and making recommendations to the Government on the actual or likely anti-competitive effects or consumer protection issues that arise out of the implementation of the Act.
The Act proposes the establishment of the Fair-Trading Tribunal to deal with appeals against the decisions of the Commission complaints of alleged prohibited conduct applications for breaches of undertakings and applications for authorization or permission of proposed mergers recommended by the Commission. The introduction of the Fair-Trading Tribunal is not only commendable as a principle of best international practice but is also good for democracy and the rule of law.
The Act extensively makes provisions for the protection of consumer protection rights and accordingly protects amongst many others the rights to fair, just, and reasonable terms and conditions, disclosure of information, fair and responsible marketing, fair and honest dealing, choice, safety, fair value, good quality and safety for the performance of services and supply of goods.
Regarding fair competition, the Act makes provision for among others, the abuse of a dominant position, restrictive horizontal and vertical practices, mergers, and factors to be considered for determining the aforementioned practices and market inquiries.
Offences and penalties for contravening the provisions of the Act are also clearly specified in the Act.
Finally, the Act mandates the Minister responsible for Trade in consultations with the Fair-Trading Commission to make regulations for all matters which are required or necessary to be provided for in giving effect to the provisions of the Act.