Taiwan: Fair Trade Commission
Taiwan
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Taiwan: Fair Trade Commission

Taiwan: Fair Trade Commission

Taiwan

Taiwan: from the enforcer

Address: 14F, 2-2 Ji Nan Road, Sec 1, Taipei 10051, Taiwan (ROC)
Tel: +886 2 2351 7588
Fax: +886 2 2397 5075
Web: www.ftc.gov.tw

Contacts

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Mei-Ying Huang
Chairperson

Kuang-Yu, Hu
Director, Department of Planning
Tel: +886 2 2397 4506
Fax: +886 2 2397 5075
Email: [email protected]

Kevin LinSection Chief,
Department of Planning
Tel: +886 2 2397 5019
Fax: +886 2 2397 5075
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

How long is the head of agency’s term of office?

According to the Organic Act of the Fair Trade Commission, which was promulgated on 14 November 2011, the head of agency’s term of office is four years.

When is he or she next due for reappointment?

She is due for reappointment 31 January 2021.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

The chairperson, vice chairperson and five other commissioners are nominated by the premier and approved by Congress. The premier should appoint the chairperson and vice chairperson when nominating the commissioners.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The budget of the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) for2020is 323.3 million New Taiwan dollars.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

There are 202 members of staff employed by the TFTC as of the end of2019.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

The chairperson reports to the premier only in administrative matters. The TFTC is an independent agency in competition enforcement decisions.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

Yes. For instance, the National Communications Commission (NCC), established in 2006, is responsible for the regulation of the telecommunications, cable, and broadcasting industries, and also oversees fair competition in those industries.

If so, how do these relate to your role?

Industry-specific regulators focus more on ex ante regulation to address market failures through regulatory measures. The Fair Trade Act, on the other hand, plays the role of general competition law and emphasises more ex post regulation to deter and prevent anticompetitive practices through the right of the competent authority to investigate and punish enterprises that violate the Fair Trade Act.

May politicians overrule or disregard authority’s decisions? If they have ever exercised this right, describe the most recent example.

No.

Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when taking decisions?

As a rule, effect on competition is the main factor taken into account when making decisions. However, overall economic benefit might be considered in exceptional cases, such as applications for cartel exceptions.

Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions?

The TFTC is responsible for both the Fair Trade Act and the Multi-Level Marketing Supervision Act. The High Administrative Court and Appeals and Petitions Committee of the Executive Yuan (the Cabinet) hear appeals against the TFTC’s decisions of the Fair Trade Act and Multi-Level Marketing Supervision Act, respectively.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes. The TFTC has blocked 12proposed mergers: three in 2000, one in 2002, one in 2007, two in 2008, two in 2009, one in 2010 ,one in 2018 and one in 2019. In August2019, a merger notification filed by Cashbox Partyworld Co, Ltd to acquire all the shares of Holiday Co, Ltd was blocked.

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes, there have been several proposed mergers where conditions were imposed. In September 2017, the TFTC did not prohibit Net Wave Cable Systems Co, Ltd to merge with Power Full Cable Television Co, Ltd with undertakings attached.

Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings?

The Fair Trade Act does not have a Phase II investigation in its merger regulations. Instead, the TFTC may extend the review period as it deems necessary. Such extension may not exceed 60 working days.

Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes. In December 2015, the TFTC imposed its legal penalties on seven aluminium capacitor companies and three tantalum companies, including foreign companies.

Do you operate an immunity and leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact? What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?

Yes. The Fair Trade Act was amended and promulgated in 2011 and 2015 to add a leniency programme (article 35). Applicants should complete an application form with required attachments, then send it by registered mail (or hand in personally) to the TFTC – see Regulations on Immunity and Reduction of Fines in Illegal Concerted Action Cases, www.ftc.gov.tw/internet/english/doc/docDetail.aspx?uid=647&docid=12223.

The leniency programme uses a limited number of applicants and diminishing reduction of fines to encourage potential applicants to come forward as early as possible and provide the TFTC with evidence of illegal concerted actions. Hence, although only the first applicant is granted full immunity, four subsequent applicants are also granted reductions up to 50 per cent in their administrative fines.

Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it? Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?

Yes, but only after a defendant repeats practices that are considered to breach the Fair Trade Act and is ordered to cease the practices by the TFTC, which shall refer the case to public prosecutors for investigation and prosecution.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

Yes. The employment of search and seizure powers may be considered as a new proposal to the FTA.

When did the last review of the law occur?

Amendment to article 11 of the FTA was promulgated on 14 June 2017.

Do you have a separate economics team? If so please give details.

Yes. The Information and Economic Analysis Office was established on 6 February 2012 to provide economic and statistical analysis for enforcement purposes.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

The TFTC does not have the legal right to conduct a dawn raid. However, the TFTC is empowered to dispatch personnel for any necessary on-site inspection of the office, place of business, or other locations of the relevant organisation or enterprises when investigating alleged violations of the Fair Trade Act.

Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes. In January 2010, the TFTC imposed penalty on representative of gas company for offence committed by the company, according to article 15 of Administrative Penalty Act.

What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?

Mergers involving parties reaching a certain sales volume or a particular level of market share require the giving of notification to the TFTC (article 11 of the Fair Trade Act).

Are there any restrictions on investments that involve less than a majority stake in the business?

No. However, article 10i (2) of the Fair Trade Act provides that an enterprise holds or acquires the shares or capital contributions of another enterprise to an extent of more than a third of the total voting shares or total capital of such other enterprise shall be considered as a situation of a merger. Such merger shall be filed with the TFTC.


Taiwan: from the enforcer's competition economists

Address: 12-14 F, No. 2-2 Jinan Rd., Sec. 1, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100, Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 2351 7588
Web: www.ftc.gov.tw

Contacts

image-20201215165824-1
Mei-Ying Huang
Chairperson

Questions and answers

How many economists do you employ?

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) generally employs staff with degrees in economics or laws, and other related fields. There were around 71 economists in mid 2020. This represents 34 per cent of the total number of the TFTC employees.

Do you have a separate economics unit?

Yes. The TFTC set up the Information and Economic Analysis Office (IEAO) in February 2012 as a separate economics unit.

Do you have a chief economist?

Director of the IEAO plays a role of chief economist.

To whom does the chief economist report?

Director of the IEAO may advise the  Chairperson and the Commission’s meeting on economic issues in competition cases.

Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?

Director of the IEAO plays a key role in assessing qualified candidates to make suggestions. The final hiring decision is made by the Chairperson.

How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?

Four commissioners including the Chairperson hold a PhD in economics.

Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?

The IEAO advises and supports the enforcement departments with regard to both case-specific issues and general economic questions. In addition, the enforcement departments may establish a case team comprises economists from the IEAO, depending on the case.

Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?

Yes. The IEAO is a second pair of eyes during cases.

How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?

The TFTC deals most of the economic issues internally. However, the IEAO and the enforcement departments consult with professionals, academics in certain cases where special expertise is required or conduct commissioned research reports on specific issues.

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