Consumer interest must be priority in collaboration decisions amid covid

IANS, August 21, 2020

As the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted businesses and competition laws also getting tested in such uncertain times, Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of Cuts International, has said that consumer interest should be the priority and the backbone of any measures, especially during such unprecedented times.

Speaking at a webinar on ‘Competition Enforcement for Business Collaborations during Covid-19’, Mehta said: “It is important to always keep consumer interest as the backbone to any measures, especially during such unprecedented times.”

Mehta noted that it must be kept on the back of the mind whether the consumers are at focus or the businesses while taking decisions on collaborations and mergers.

Frederic Jenny, Chair, OECD Competition Committee, highlighted that the lack of adjustment of demand and supply in the market has led to negative externalities on society. This has led to an understanding that certain collaborations between businesses have greater potential for efficiency.

Addressing the webinar, Eleanor Fox, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation at New York University of Law, stated that competition agencies must be sceptical in granting exemptions or relaxations.

Rather, if agencies analyse what constitutes as ‘anti-competitive’ correctly, there will be no need to provide such relaxations, Fox said.

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