School of Politics and International Relations

New Competition Commission already under fire

13 June 2019

Myanmar’s professed commitment to competition reform has come under fire after the government packed the new Competition Commission with bureaucrats serving under a minister. Dr Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London, is sceptical about the impact the Commission or the Law will have on Myanmar’s broader economic reform. By some estimates, he said, as much of half of the country’s economy is produced by companies owned by the military, by crony capitalism conglomerates, or businesses linked to ethnic-minority armed groups. Their profits are often heavily dependent on various forms of anti-competitive arrangements: “Disrupting these arrangements would elicit huge resistance from these powerful forces, which could be politically very destabilising. Therefore, the Commission is likely to tread extremely carefully and, most likely, tiptoe around the most entrenched interests.”

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