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Program set up
In 2019, the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP) funded the ACCC to undertake a project exploring the potential for building on AANZFTA CLIP with new cooperation on consumer protection. This initiative was called the Consumer Protection Scoping Project (CPSP).
The CPSP delivered research, capacity building and advocacy in relation to the interface of competition and consumer law in the AANZFTA and confirmed ASEAN demand for agency-to-agency technical cooperation on consumer protection under the AANZFTA – including joining up technical assistance for competition and consumer agencies where beneficial.
One of the results of this exploratory project was the ACCC launching new technical cooperation on consumer protection under CAP in 2020. Through CAP, the ACCC aims to strengthen and sustain its engagement with ASEAN consumer protection counterparts (the members of the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP)) and New Zealand in support of improved consumer and economic welfare in Australia and our region.
About the program
CAP provides a new avenue for Australia and New Zealand to support the attainment of ASEAN regional goals under the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection (ASAPCP). Since launching, CAP has delivered technical assistance to ASEAN in areas including product safety, consumer scams, inter-agency coordination and cooperation, and consumer law investigations and enforcement.
Consumer welfare is imperative to a post COVID-19 economic rebuild. In particular, CAP is working with partner consumer agencies to build the knowledge and skills necessary to disrupt consumer scams, implement product safety regulations, cooperate with national counterparts, and investigate consumer protection cases. In line with ACCC objectives, CAP works to help ASEAN regulatory institutions focus on making markets work to grow economies, support inclusive development, and implement consumer protection laws.
Feedback indicates ASEAN consumer agencies strongly value the very practical support they have had under CAP to date. Already there has been significant progress in developing regulator-to-regulator relationships in the AANZFTA, and there are specific examples of CAP helping ASEAN consumer agencies respond to consumer law issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over time, cooperation through the AANZFTA will help ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand to bolster consumer confidence, build cross border trade within the AANZFTA, supporting increased economic recovery and resistance to future shock.
How CAP delivers
CAP focuses on providing real world examples of ACCC, New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) and ASEAN experiences implementing consumer law. This helps participants in CAP activities to develop practical knowledge and skills they can immediately apply to their own cases and agency situations. We customise training to the needs of ASEAN countries and harness ASEAN experiences in order to provide the most relevant and contextually appropriate content for capability development.
Prior to 2020 in-person forums and workshops were a central feature of international cooperation. The ongoing environment though has dramatically shifted global approaches to international development cooperation. Over 2020 and 2021, CAP and CLIP continue to deliver projects through wholly online means, including e-learning content and interactive webinars. These modes of delivery have opened new opportunities for attendees and we are able to reach greater numbers of officials than previously possible.
CAP activities continue to respond to the needs of AMS, and sees us work bilaterally, sub regionally and regionally to deliver improved outcomes in consumer protection, and regulator-to-regulator relationships.
Our e-learning courses in CAP Phase I deliver to four key streams (developed in consultation with the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP)):
- Consumer Product Safety
- Consumer Scams
- Consumer Law Compliance, Investigations and Enforcement
- Interagency Coordination & Cooperation
Through these work streams, we provide interviews with leading consumer law officials, case studies, and targeted insights on discrete topic areas with expert blog posts and webinars.
AANZFTA Consumer and Competition Law Digest
The ACCC in partnership with the ACCP, ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC) and AECSP launched the AANZFTA Consumer and Competition Law Digest in 2020.
The digest is a monthly collection of official news from ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand. It brings together media releases, speeches, and announcements from the competition and consumer agencies of these jurisdictions, and includes links to other significant reports, papers, and resources.
Each edition provides readers with a concise summary of recent, key developments across ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand in competition and consumer law implementation.
We encourage anyone interested to sign up through the AANZFTA Consumer and Competition Law Digest subscription page.
In November 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Mekong‑Australia Partnership (MAP), which builds on Australia’s long-standing bilateral programs with Mekong states to enhance Australia's engagement. Through MAP, CAP is delivering bilateral programs with Cambodia for the Cambodia-Australia Consumer Protection Partnership and Vietnam for the Vietnam Consumer Law Reform and Advocacy Project.
CAP MAP engagement has already delivered targeted bilateral training with Cambodia’s Directorate-General of Consumer Protection, Competition, and Fraud Repression on pyramid schemes. We have also conducted high-level discussions on key issues for agency start up and enforcement.
MAP allows CAP, Cambodia, and Vietnam to identify, and achieve specific bilateral goals for consumer protection. In this way, CAP assists in the implementation of Cambodian and Vietnamese consumer law, which supports greater economic resilience and integration with regional markets. This new cooperation on MAP complements and builds on the regional work delivered under the AANZFTA.
Cambodian Officials Trained to Undertake Consumer Law Investigations
AANZFTA-US Officials Discuss Consumer Scams in E-Commerce