Towards a Level Playing Field between SOEs and Private Entities in ASEAN


The ASEAN Competition Action Plan (ACAP 2016-2025) envisages a regional report on the impact on competition of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and government-linked monopolies (GLMs) in ASEAN. Within this framework and in co-operation with the UK Government and the ASEAN Competition Authorities, the OECD has undertaken an assessment of special rights and privileges granted to SOEs and GLMs that may have a distortionary effect on competition in the logistics sector.

Why the logistics sector?

The ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), the ASEAN Expert Group on Competition, the OECD and the UK Government agreed that the project should focus on the logistics sector.

Firstly, the focus on one sector has the benefit of potentially harmonising regulations and thus promoting a more integrated logistics market. Secondly, logistics is among the twelve priority integration sectors identified in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint.

Efficient logistics can play a significant role in increasing a country’s economic development by facilitating international trade and improving its competitiveness.

By developing an efficient logistics system, a country can enhance its connectivity to better serve their exporters and importers, and satisfy the needs of regionally integrated production facilities for reliable just-in-time delivery of inputs/outputs.

How to address these challenges?

The OECD has built on its significant work on competitive neutrality, which is well suited to achieve these ambitious objectives. This work is specifically designed to identify shortcomings in national regulations and policies that hinder the efficient functioning of markets to the detriment of businesses and consumers.

Objectives and outcomes

Government’s support to SOEs can take many forms, including selective subsidies, explicit or implicit loan guarantees, preferential purchasing, preferential standards, support for unnecessary new capacity, and regulatory or tax favouritism. Such advantages granted to commercially oriented SOEs by virtue of their nature can result in competitive distortions.

The project aims at promoting a level playing field between SOEs and private entities in the logistics sector. The report aims at helping ASEAN governments to detect special rights and privileges granted to SOEs that may hinder the efficient functioning of the logistics sector and affect long-term growth and competitiveness.

Moreover, it provides recommendations on how to mitigate distortionary effects, avoid undue restrictions to competition, and promote fair competition. The goal is also to support the development of a pro-competitive regulatory environment by making recommendations for pro-competitive reforms of special rights and privileges that go beyond their intended policy objectives.


Four main outcomes out of the project


An OECD report describing the competitive situation for the key SOEs in the logistics sector and identifying any exclusive rights or special privileges granted to such SOEs, as well as their potential justification and rationale.


Building on stakeholders’ comments and available data, analysis on possible improvements also in light of the international best practices and relevant case studies.

3 Workshops and meetings with government officials on identifying special rights and privileges for SOEs that hinder a level playing field, and less restrictive alternatives to achieve the same socio-economic objectives.
4 Recommendations to ASEAN governments on the special rights and privileges identified, in order to reduce competition distortions in the logistics sector.

Beyond its immediate impact on competition policy, the project helps lay the foundations for reducing inequality, lower non-tariff barriers to trade, and improving the business environment and ease of doing business in ASEAN. A rule-based, predictable environment based on international best practices will ensure a competitive and open economy. This in turn will allow businesses seeking access to ASEAN to enter, operate and invest effectively.

Project Roadmap


Select the market where the analysis will be undertaken and identify the role of the SOEs


Identify SOEs’ special rights and privileges


Conduct an in-depth analysis of these special rights and privileges


Formulate recommendations for reforming special rights and privileges, and assessment of viable alternatives, also in light of the SOEs’ rationale.

The launch of the report and the capacity building seminars took place in December 2020.



Competition Primers for ASEAN Judges

Competition Law in Asia-Pacific: A Guide to Selected Jurisdictions 

ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint

OECD Competition and Macroeconomic outcomes

More OECD work on competition


Fostering Competition in ASEAN

OECD Project on Fostering Competition in ASEAN

Fostering competition in Thailand

Achieving more pro-competitive regulation in ASEAN

Towards a level playing field in the logistics sector in ASEAN

ASEAN Competition Action Plan (2016-2025)

ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

What's new?

9 September 2021

The OECD Competitive Neutrality Review of ASEAN was launched during the 53rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting


Access the reports and their highlights 

Read more about the project

Reports by country

ASEAN Brunei flag

Brunei Darussalam

Country Cambodia Flag




Lao PDR Flag  Lao PDR
Malaysia flag Malaysia
Myanmar flag Myanmar 
Philippines flag  Philippines
Singapore Singapore
ASEAN Thailand flag Thailand 
VietNam flag Viet Nam


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