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COVID-19: GOVERNANCE (INDONESIA): Competition Watchdog Goes Online

Indonesia’s Competition Commission (KPPU) has issued a regulation permitting online enforcement activities, addressing the social distancing measures introduced by the Indonesian government in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Before the issuance of this new regulation on 6 April 2020 (Regulation No. 1 of 2020 regarding Electronic Case Handling), the KPPU had earlier announced in a press release that all legal enforcement activities (including case handling and merger process reviews) were postponed from 17 March until 6 April 2020.  

Under the prevailing regulations, merger control notifications have to be submitted to the KPPU within 30 business days after the date of closing of the relevant transaction. The KPPU confirmed in its press release that the period from 17 March to 6 April 2020 would be excluded from this notification timeline.

Reg 1/2020 allows the KPPU to continue enforcement activities through the use of electronic media (email, video conferencing, and the KPPU website). This covers the following processes:

  • merger notification 
  • partnership supervision 
  • case handling, including
    • reports on allegations
    • clarifications
    • research
    • investigations
    • examination hearings
    • monitoring of behavioural remedies

As all interactions with the KPPU can now be undertaken electronically, the existing timelines for case handling and merger notification remain in effect. 

Since Reg 1/2020 does not have an expiry date, it is unclear whether the KPPU’s current use of electronic media will remain in place once the pandemic is over, or return to traditional methods. 

The KPPU's greater use of electronic media to deal with its enforcement duties reflects similar approaches taken by other competition authorities around the world as they try to deal with the disruption caused by COVID-19. 

For example, the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation has adopted greater use of email and fax communications and video conferencing. Parties wishing to submit merger notifications can now do so electronically instead of in-person.  

Singapore's competition authority, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, has also moved towards working electronically and is encouraging parties to engage with it via email, telephone or online.

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