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Steven Van Uytsel and Somsack Hongvichit

The competition law in Laos is relatively simple and transparent to apply. Unfair business practices have been interpreted in detail. Unilateral conduct provisions work with a per se illegality standard. Concentrations have been limited in scope to only apply to large firms. The provision on agreements of restraint includes lots of details. Despite the transparent conceptualization, there are some complexities in the law. The provision on agreements in restraint of trade has been made immensely complex by creating different standards of illegality where only one could have sufficed. Moreover, while the provision is upfront with its standards of illegality for price-related agreements, no guidance is given for agreements that are not price related. Whether or not this transparent document will be a matter for enforcement or not will depend on the enforcement agencies. Different interests could capture the agencies, potentially leading to an effective standstill of the law.