Consumer Contracts and Product Safety Law in Southeast Asia: Partly Trading Up?

'Consumer Contracts and Product Safety Law in Southeast Asia: Partly Trading Up?' in Hsieh, P.L., and B. Mercurio (eds)" ASEAN Law in the New Regional Economic Order: Global Trends and Shifting Paradigms", Cambridge University Press, 2019

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. #19/37

23 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019

See all articles by Luke R. Nottage

Luke R. Nottage

The University of Sydney Law School; The University of Sydney - Australian Network for Japanese Law

Jeannie Marie Paterson

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: June 25, 2019

Abstract

This paper explores the efforts by the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to implement harmonized minimum standards of consumer protection. This project seeks to avoid a ‘regulatory race to the bottom’ alongside trade and investment liberalization, especially pursuant to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015. The paper examines regulatory gaps, poor enforcement and access to justice, and other impediments to ‘trading up’ to higher harmonized standards for consumer protection across Southeast Asia, focusing on two main fields: product safety (focusing on general consumer goods, rather than sectoral safety regulation for high-risk products) and regulation aimed at ensuring minimum quality standards in consumer contracts for the supply of goods and services.

Much work remains to be done to enhance ASEAN consumer protection law in both fields, especially in consumer contract law. The safety of tangible goods – beginning with higher-risk and/or everyday products such as foods – meets a fundamental physical need, rather than an economic interest. Introducing and enhancing consumer product safety law has therefore long appealed to governments of all stripes. In addition, there may be more widespread business opposition to ‘trading up’ to higher standards regarding consumer contracts than for the safety of tangible products.

Keywords: consumer law and policy, comparative law, Asian law, law reform, product liability, safety regulation, contract law, tort law, redress, economic integration

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Nottage, Luke R. and Paterson, Jeannie Marie, Consumer Contracts and Product Safety Law in Southeast Asia: Partly Trading Up? (June 25, 2019). 'Consumer Contracts and Product Safety Law in Southeast Asia: Partly Trading Up?' in Hsieh, P.L., and B. Mercurio (eds)" ASEAN Law in the New Regional Economic Order: Global Trends and Shifting Paradigms", Cambridge University Press, 2019; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. #19/37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3409602

Luke R. Nottage (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

The University of Sydney - Australian Network for Japanese Law

Room 640, Building F10, Eastern Avenue
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Jeannie Marie Paterson

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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