Competition Regimes in the World: A Civil Society Report

The shift away from direct state intervention in the economy in favour of an increased reliance on the market has led to the adoption of competition laws as integral part of economic reform measures in many countries. This has been reflected in the developmental policies of various countries across the globe – policies to privatise state enterprises, liberalise monopoly markets, and establish appropriate state regulatory structures to tackle market distortions. Hence, there has been a growing consensus on the significance of competition and competition policy in the development process.

In the early 1980s, there were approximately 20 countries with competition laws. Since then, two decades later, there are approximately 98 countries with competition laws, and this number continues to rise. Even though the number of countries that has implemented competition policy has increased, there are many more which are struggling to design and implement their own competition policy. This situation has further worsened due to the absence of an informed civil society network conversant with the nature of competition and types of anti-competitive practices, which adversely affect consumer welfare.

In this scenario, it was felt important to share experiences and information on competition policy and anti-competitive practices which prevail/exist in each country. Keeping this in view, competition authorities of the world came together to form the ICN. To complement such efforts at the civil society level, INCSOC was formed.

INCSOC felt that there are documents like the World Development Report (WDR) published by the WB, Trade and Development Report (TDR) and World Investment Report (WIR) published by UNCTAD, and Human Development Report (HDR) published by UNDP etc., but there is no similar documentation on competition issues at the global level.

CUTS started the idea with 150 countries, but subsequently it was decided to drop some due to dearth of information, the problem in getting prospective writers and problems of language. As the initiative went along, certain problems cropped up. Mentioning a few of the problems would be worthwhile, like:

  • Identifying the countries with competition laws or getting a draft for inclusion in the report;
  • Identifying appropriate writers who could provide up-to-date information on the country (s/he represented) through a voluntary effort;
  • Stressing upon the writers to abide by the specific outline for the country papers;
  • Search for data in-house, to fill the gaps in the chapter;
  • Unavailability of interesting case studies in certain countries, especially Africa.

In the light of the above listed constraints, few of the country briefs were written in-house, which was passed onwards for comments to the concerned competition authority/Professors in a particular country.

The outcome of this strenuous work is in front of everyone: a huge almanac detailing the competition policy & law/regulatory/consumer protection scenario of 119 countries around the globe, which is a ready reference for all groups of stakeholders, including policy-makers, academia, civil society, and the business community.

Most of the countries covered in this volume have competition legislation, while some are in the process of adopting one. The report also carries a brief description of the regulatory regime and the consumer protection framework of each country. Each of the chapter is illustrated with box stories on competition cases, which offer good insight. Overall, the country papers in the compilation provide a glimpse of the competition scenario in the select countries in simple language, and with well-exhibited information.

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