International Competition Network
The ICN now has 127 members from 111 jurisdictions, a membership that quite literally spans the globe and includes nearly all of the world’s competition agencies. Two recent members are from the Americas: Ecuador’s Superintendency for the Control of Market Power; and Uruguay’s Commission for Promotion and Defence of Competition. Other recent members include agencies from Guernsey, Malawi and the Philippines.
As membership increases, meaningful participation in ICN work also grows apace. This past ICN year, for example, almost 100 member agencies attended an in-person ICN conference or workshop, and most attended multiple events. Also during the past ICN year, 70 member agencies and 100 NGAs actively contributed to creating ICN’s 2013 work product, which includes the following:1
- Handbooks, such as a chapter on international cooperation and information sharing for the Anti‐Cartel Enforcement Manual, and a new chapter on the role of economics and economic evidence in merger analysis for the Investigative Techniques Handbook for Merger Review. Members and NGAs also prepared two draft chapters for the Agency Practice Manual, including one on knowledge management and one on human resources management, and a chapter on the analysis of exclusive dealing arrangements for the Unilateral Conduct Workbook.
- Survey Reports on Enforcement Tools and Transparency Practices, which provide comprehensive overviews of the range of agencies’ investigative tools and the ways in which agencies provide transparency during their investigations. The ICN also joined forces with the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to prepare a comprehensive study of international enforcement cooperation. The ICN report discusses future ICN work that could best help agencies address the challenges of engaging effectively in cross border enforcement cooperation. The Polish Competition Authority, as part of a special project they prepared as 2013 annual conference host, prepared a survey report on member experience working with courts and judges.
- Draft Recommended Practices for Competition Assessment, on the process and analytical framework for conducting competition impact assessments, were presented for discussion.
- Three new video training modules for ICN’s virtual university were developed: planning an investigation; competition advocacy; and challenges faced by competition agencies in developing economies.
- The ICN continued to create self-assessment tools to help members identify areas for reform, including this year a tool for members to use to analyse their merger analysis practices, based on the Merger Analysis Recommended Practices and Merger Guidelines Workbook.
Another noteworthy achievement in 2013 is the development of a programme to support ICN members who want to engage in reforms. ICN Chair Eduardo Pérez Motta introduced this support programme, and this past year he worked with the ICN’s Steering Group to develop principles and processes to guide the programme. At member request, the ICN will provide a formal letter describing the member’s proposed reforms’ conformity with ICN best practices. In some cases, this may involve presentations or in-country support. This past year, the ICN provided public comments on the proposed reforms to the merger regime in Peru and on merger guidelines for the COMESA Competition Commission.
Future work programme
Almost without exception, the ICN begins each new year by addressing a new area of competition law. This past year, ICN tackled new work in the area of international enforcement cooperation, investigative process, courts and judges, and competition assessments. These new projects reflect a broadening of the ICN’s work and a willingness to seek a degree of synthesis of issues across different enforcement areas. These projects, and the competition assessment project in particular, demonstrate a strong confidence in the ICN’s voice and messaging, and ability to encompass all aspects of what enables a competition agency to accomplish its mission and promote competition principles.
This year, however, instead of addressing new topics, the ICN will instead include a focus on a new audience: economic policymakers. One workstream is already under way: the best practices for competition impact assessments. The ICN will also engage in new efforts to help members promote the importance of sound competition policy with their policymakers, including through a compendium of examples of quantitative evidence of the benefits of competition, and will seek opportunities to promote competition policy in the international arena as well.
The ICN’s core work in the area of mergers, cartels, unilateral conduct, advocacy and agency effectiveness will continue. Highlights include:
- advocacy – practical guidance on explaining the benefits of competition to the legislature, a framework for promoting competition culture and the competition impact assessment best practices;
- agency effectiveness – stocktaking of agencies’ investigative processes and confidentiality in particular, three new video training modules, road-testing, and finalising chapters on knowledge and human resources management;
- cartels – discussion call series on settlement instruments and another on the type of conduct that should be investigated as a cartel, updated chapters on digital evidence gathering and implementing an effective leniency programme for the Anti-Cartel Enforcement Manual. The annual cartel workshop will be in Cape Town on 15–18 October 2013;
- mergers – foundation work product for enforcement cooperation guidance and promoting implementation of existing ICN merger work product; and
- unilateral conduct – a new chapter on loyalty rebates and discounts for the Unilateral Conduct Workbook and continued work on existing chapters on objectives of unilateral conduct laws, assessment of dominance, predatory pricing, and exclusive dealing. There will be a a workshop on exclusive dealing analysis on 18–19 September 2013, in Stockholm, aimed at Baltic Sea/Eastern Europe agencies.
This work is for consideration at the next ICN annual conference, which will take place from 23–25 April 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco.
- Copies of this year’s work product are available on the conference website, http://icnwarsaw2013.org. An executive summary describing the 2013 work product is available at http://internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/library/doc904.pdf. An overview of the ICN’s work organized according to the relevant working and project groups is available at http://icnwarsaw2013.org/docs/icn_statement_of_achievements_april_2013.pdf.