ASEAN Consumer Law Harmonisation and Cooperation: Backdrop and Overarching Perspectives
'Introduction: Backdrop and Overarching Perspectives', in Nottage, Luke; Malbon, Justin; Paterson, Jeannie; Beaton-Wells, Caron, "ASEAN Consumer Law Harmonisation and Cooperation: Achievements and Challenges" (Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 1-52
36 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2019 Last revised: 26 May 2020
Date Written: June 3, 2019
This paper is adapted mainly from the manuscript version of the introductory chapter for the forthcoming Cambridge University Press volume, ASEAN Consumer Law Harmonisation and Cooperation: Achievements and Challenges, by Luke Nottage, Justin Malbon, Jeannie Marie Paterson and Caron Beaton-Wells. Included in the series on “Integration Through Law: The Role of Law and the Rule of Law in ASEAN Integration”, our book is the first Western-language research monograph detailing significant developments in consumer law and policy across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, underpinned by a growing middle class and implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community from 2016. Eight chapters examine consumer law topics within ASEAN member states (such as product safety and consumer contracts) and across them (financial and health services), as well as the interface with competition law and the nature of ASEAN as a unique and evolving international organisation. Insights are included from extensive fieldwork by the four authors, partly through several consultancies for the ASEAN Secretariat over 2013-5, to provide a reliable, contextual and up-to-date analysis of consumer law and policy development across the region. The volume also draws on and contributes to theories of law and development in multiple fields, including comparative law (with references also to consumer law developments in Australia, Japan and the EU), political economy and regional studies.
The introductory chapter outlines the backdrop to the achievements and challenges experienced as ASEAN has intensified its program of harmonising minimum standards of consumer protection across Southeast Asia, especially over the last decade. A key factor outlined is economic integration both among ASEAN member states and with their wider regional and global economies. Yet diversity among member states (demographics, economic development, legal and political systems, NGOs and press freedom) arguably influences the timing and extent of consumer law reform and implementation in each country. The chapter ends with summaries of the scope and key lessons of the remaining substantive chapters in the volume (examining product safety regulation, consumer contracts, financial and health services, and interaction of consumer law with competition law) as well as the concluding chapter (adding proposals for enhancing more public-private ‘shared regional value’). This paper adds (in Part 1.4.2) an adaptation of four of the theoretical perspectives elaborated in chapter 2 of the volume, to understand better the trajectory of consumer law harmonisation across Southeast Asia, and the evolving nature of ASEAN itself. These include theories of comparative regionalism, transgovernmentalism, ‘trading up’, and legal transplants.
Keywords: consumer law and policy, comparative law, Asian law, international law, free trade agreements, law reform, international organisations, regionalism, transgovernmentalism, legal transplants
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation