ICN 2017 - CUTS' Bulletin n°3: This year's conference concludes analysing unilateral conduct

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May 12, 2017, 11:06:37 AM5/12/17
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Bulletin n°3 | Friday, May 12, 2017
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About this bulletin
This week, the global competition community meets in Porto, Portugal, on the occasion of the 16th Annual Conference of the International Competition Network (ICN). The ICN provides a platform for international cooperation, exchange of experience and development of common ground for competition authorities around the world. With this bulletin, CUTS is keeping you posted on the proceedings.

@cutsccier #ICNPorto

The Analytical Framework for Evaluating Unilateral Conduct

This session moderated by Deborah Garza, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP, United States, explored the concepts of dominance and substantial market power, and discussed when unilateral conduct should be considered as exclusionary. While unilateral conduct laws differ across jurisdictions, all prohibit a firm to acquire a dominant position in order to protect consumers.

Competition authorities were advised against adopting a narrow definition of market power, arguing that, while market share remains an important factor, it should not be a starting point for establishing dominance. Indeed, other aspects should be taken into account such as market structure, other potential competition constraints, the size and nature of competitors, market dynamics etc.

Panellists also identified challenges in assessing exclusion, such as identifying the relevant market. In the case of Coca-Cola for instance, is the relevant market drinks? Sparkling drinks? Coke? Then another challenge is to define what the potential harm to competition. Competition authorities were encouraged to have to consider and evaluate efficiency aspects before arriving at a decision, seeking a balance between competition and commercial freedom.

On the panel were Andrea Coscelli, Acting Chief Executive, Competition and Markets Authority, United Kingdom; Cecilio Madero, Deputy Director-General, DG Competition, European Commission; Michal Halperin, Director-General, Israel Antitrust Agency; Devender Kumar Sikri, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India.

Staff Training

This session was an experience-sharing exercise among competition agencies on their best practices and approaches to staff training programmes. Discussions explored some of the challenges related to staff training, and the role of international cooperation in this regard. It was moderated by Smita Jhingran, Secretary, Competition Commission of India.

Some of the tools used by agencies included mentoring programmes for retaining junior Agencies develop tools to identify their training needs.staff, scholarships, as well as graduate programmes aimed to provide MA graduates with in-house capacity building.

Some agencies seek to recruit and train economists through workshops for skills-sharing, as well as sabbatical programme allowing them to perfect their knowledge in international universities. In addition, some launched partnerships with universities so as to mainstream competition in the economic curriculum.

The role of IGOs like OECD and UNCTAD in building capacities was also mentioned, including through the example of the latter’s MENA training programme which promote competition and consumer protection policies as tools to regional integration. The OECD also established regional competition centres which undertake targeted trainings and release regional newsletters. It was however noted that IGOs’ analytical papers are often not well known by the agency staff.

On the panel were Hardin Ratshisusu, Deputy Commissioner, South African Competition Commission; Susan Philp, Director, International, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; Akira Fujino, Deputy Director, International Affairs Division, Japan Fair Trade Commission; Sabine Zigelski, Senior Competition Expert, OECD; Julieta Coca, Programme Management Officer, UNCTAD Competition Policy and Consumer Protection Branch; Lourenço Ventura, Assistant Legal Director, Competition and Market Authority.

Implementation in the ICN

This session moderated by Randy Tritell, Director of International Antitrust, United States Federal Trade Commission, discussed the way forward for implementation in the ICN. Going forward, some of the challenges identified included the growing number of transnational investigations, as well as the emergence of new markets spurred by technological innovation.

On the panel were José Marín Quemada, Chairman, Spanish National Authority for Markets and Competition (CNMC); Hiroshi Yamada, Deputy Secretary-General for International Affairs, Japan Fair Trade Commission; Anna Poznyakova, Deputy Head of Department for International Economic Cooperation, Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), Russia; Arsenio M. Balisacan, Chairman, Philippine Competition Commission.

Closing Session

In her closing remarks, Margarida Matos Rosa, President, Portuguese Competition Authority, noted the wide range of topics discussed this week both in plenary and breakout sessions. These included leniency, non-price effects in merger review, traditional and new markets, agency effectiveness, and the deterrent effects of competition enforcement among others. This annual conference was an opportunity to pause and reflect, and a reminder of how the global competition community in made of many engaged individuals. Finally, she extended warm regards to the Competition Commission of India, who will organise next year’s ICN Annual Conference.

Andreas Mundt, President, Bundeskartellamt, Germany and Chairman of the ICN Steering Committee, warmly thanked the host for organizing this week’s event in Porto. He also welcomed several incoming ICN Steering Group members. He thanked the participants, whose diversity was very beneficial to the success of the conference. He concluded by saying that what makes this conference attractive to ICN members is that it has impact on changing practice for the better.

Finally, Devender Kumar Sikri, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India, looked forward to welcoming ICN members at next year’s annual conference scheduled in New Delhi on March 20-23, 2018. He congratulated the organisers for a very engaging conference.

CUTS International looks forward to welcoming the global competition community to India next year and invites participants to visit its hometown Jaipur, the Pink city of India, after the ICN 2018. 

Jaipur • New Delhi • Chittorgarh • Kolkata • Hanoi • Nairobi • Lusaka • Accra • Geneva


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