December 07, 2021
“In order to revive the pandemic hit economy, the Central and State governments are focusing on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that saw significant decline in their sale volumes,” said Arvind Mayaram, former Finance Secretary of India and Chairman, CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC). “Competition policy is very much required to aid government efforts,” he added.
Mayaram was speaking at a webinar on “Competition Policy for an Inclusive and Resilient Economy” organised by CUTS International and CIRC on sixth December to celebrate the World Competition Day 2021.
Every year on fifth December World Competition Day is observed to commemorate the adoption of the first and the only multilateral rules on competition by the United Nations – the UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practice.
Chairing a session during the event, Dhanendra Kumar, Former Chairman, Competition Commission of India, emphasised that the growing market concentration should be kept in check by using competition policy. “Biggest outcome of competition policy is to create level playing field for all the market players that promotes economic democracy,” he added.
Jason Aproskie, Principal Economist, Competition Commission of South Africa, pointed out that there is a growing global concern about the under enforcement of competition law and policy as it is failing to achieve for which it were designed for. “Giving greater weight to effects on poorer people in competition assessment and invoking ‘public interest’ clause may help achieve greater equality,” he opined.
Beena Saraswathy, Assistant Professor, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, New Delhi, opined that “the regulators must ensure that political and economic power of handful of business groups does not lead to market imperfections”. She added that competition assessment based on narrowly defined markets, generally, ignores the political ramifications and social harms caused by economic power of entities.
Amir Karalic, President, Competition Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlighted the concerns that his country is facing due to concentrated oligopolistic telecom market.
Valerie Mueller, Principal Economist for Competition, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, spoke about the crucial role of digital infrastructure and technology enabling digital transition. “Two important transition qualities are inclusivity and resilience”, she added.
“Competition Regulator’s role is to promote cooperative and collective harmony”, opined Geeta Gouri, Former Member of CCI. While rigidity is demanded in certain situations, the regulations must be flexible enough to encourage innovation which is imperative, she added.
Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, while wrapping up the WCD Webinar opined that, “there is a need for comprehensive review of competition policy across all the countries in view of the ensuing economic and societal challenges”.
Other speakers who shared their views were David Ong’olo, Former Chairman, Competition Authority of Kenya; S. Chakravarthy, former Member, MRTP Commission; Derek Ritzmann, Director, Economics Partners; Serdar Dalkir, President and CEO, Competition & Regulation Economies Testimony and Consulting LLC; Inonge Mulozi, Senior Research Analyst, Zambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission; and Vijaya Iswara, CEO, Deep Sea Logistics, Inc. and.
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