There is a bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and business side in digital market – Sangeeta Verma, Member CCI

November 16, 2021

Speaking about the concern of growing market power, Sangeeta Verma, Member, Competition Commission of India, flagged that there exist a bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and business suppliers in digital markets.

However, she opined that “the Indian competition law is broad enough to deal with new age competition concerns in digital markets”. She also emphasised that the Indian law has extra-territorial jurisdiction and can deal with market practices anywhere in the world, if it has anti-competitive effects in India.

Sangeeta Verma was speaking in during the flagship Biennial Conference on Competition, Regulation and Development organised by the CUTS International and CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC) in partnership with OECD, European University Institute (EUI) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

This two-day Biennial event, held during 16-17 November, is seventh in the series, and theme this time is Building Blocks for an Inclusive and Resilient Economy.

Moderating Inaugural Session on “Diminishing Multilateralism and Economic Recovery,” Nitin Desai, Former Under-Secretary General, United Nations, pointed out that “from a political perspective, one of the greatest challenges that liberalism faces is the wide growth of inequality.”

While rejecting protectionism as a tool for economic recovery, Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General, pointed out how increasing market power is deepening inequality. While market concentration increases profit of firms, it decreases wages of employees.

Arancha Gonzalez, former Foreign Minister of Spain and former Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, was concerned about the sub-optimal level of international cooperation due to changing geopolitics when the world is dealing with Covid crisis and economic recovery. “Multilateralism also failed to govern global public goods like health and environment,” she added.   

In his address, Rathin Roy, Managing Director (Research and Policy, ODI, opined that the national ideation and politics may be one of the crucial barriers to multilateralism. He was also concerned about the dropping of ‘commons’ in the climate change narratives.

Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, felt that we should not denounce WTO and multilateralism, but it should be reformed to engender more inclusivity.  



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