Enhancing Competition and Consumer Protection in Samoa
Samoa is set to become a fairer and safer place to do business and to purchase goods and services after the government passed the Competition and Consumer Act 2016 in January.
“An effective competition framework with appropriate protections for consumers sets the stage for sustainable growth and a diversified economy,” said Terry Reid, PSDI’s International Business Law Expert.
“This legislation will allow the Government of Samoa to establish a regulatory system that delivers the best outcomes for individuals and the economy overall.”
The act combines modern consumer protection and pro-competitive rules and is likely to draw recognition to Samoa as a best practice leader in this area.
The development of Samoa’s National Competition Policy and drafting of the Competition and Consumer Act was supported by PSDI in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour. PSDI provided analytic input, policy advice, and legislative drafting support to address local priorities and to tailor the law to the government’s objectives.
The policy and act were then refined to incorporate considerations drawn from consultations with the business sector, regulatory agencies, and government representatives.
Under the act, “consumer guarantees” give consumers better assurance of the quality and safety of goods and services offered by traders. Traders are prohibited from engaging in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and a range of unfair practices.
For businesses, new competition rules prohibit rival firms forming cartels that engage in price-fixing and forbid firms that have market power from misusing it to the detriment of consumers.
With the new legislative framework now in place, the government can establish the Competition and Consumer Commission, which has responsibility for administering the new law and the power to take action where infringements occur.
A program of public education and an awareness raising campaign for businesses will be developed in the near future so that consumers and businesspeople understand their rights and responsibilities under the new law.
PSDI will continue to support the Government of Samoa in implementing the new framework of consumer and competition safeguards.
If you would like to find out more about PSDI’s work in competitiona nd consumer protection, please contact PSDI’s International Business Law Expert, Terry Reid, at firstname.lastname@example.org