Report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy on its seventeenth session

Action taken by the Trade and Development Board 2018
Report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy on its seventeenth session
Agreed Conclusions
Closing plenary
13 Jul 2018


The Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy,

Recalling the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices,

Taking into account the resolution adopted by the Seventh United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (Geneva, July 2015),[1]

Considering the provisions relating to competition issues adopted at the fourteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV, Nairobi, July 2016), including the provisions in paragraphs 69 and 76 (x) of the Nairobi Maafikiano,[2]

Reaffirming the fundamental role of competition law and policy for sound economic development and the need to further promote implementation of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices,

Noting that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the outcomes of UNCTAD XIV focus on addressing the opportunities and challenges of globalization for development and poverty reduction,

Underlining that competition law and policy is a key instrument for addressing globalization challenges and benefits, including by enhancing trade and investment, resource mobilization and the harnessing of knowledge and by reducing poverty,

Recognizing also the need to strengthen UNCTAD work on competition law and policy so as to enhance its development role and benefits for consumers and business,

Recognizing further the valuable UNCTAD work in the area of international maritime transport as covered, inter alia, in the Review of Maritime Transport,

Welcoming the contribution of Peru to the work of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy in the form of the UNCTAD virtual catalogue of international best practices in consumer protection and competition,

Noting with satisfaction the important written and oral contributions from competition authorities and other participants which contributed to a rich debate during the seventeenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy,

Taking note with appreciation of the documentation and of the peer review of Botswana facilitated by UNCTAD secretariat for its seventeenth session,

  1. Expresses appreciation to the Government of Botswana for volunteering for peer review and for sharing its experience, best practices and challenges with other competition agencies during the seventeenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy and with all Governments and regional groupings participating in the reviews, and recognizes the progress achieved so far in the elaboration and enforcement of the peer-reviewed country’s competition law;
     
  2. Invites all member Governments and competition agencies to assist UNCTAD, on a voluntary basis, by providing experts or other resources for future and follow-up activities in connection with voluntary peer reviews and their recommendations;
     
  3. Decides that UNCTAD should, in light of the experiences with the voluntary peer reviews undertaken so far and, in accordance with available resources, undertake further voluntary peer reviews on competition law and policy of member States or regional groupings during the eighteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy in July 2019;
     
  4. Underlines the importance of international cooperation as recognized under section F of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices, including informal collaboration among agencies, and calls upon UNCTAD to promote and support cooperation between competition authorities and Governments, as directed by the Accra Accord in paragraphs 103 and 211;
     
  5. Recognizes the role of maritime transport in facilitating and promoting international trade, encourages competition authorities to follow developments in the container shipping sector to ensure fair competition and prevent anti-competitive practices in these markets, and urges competition authorities to cooperate with each other in dealing with cross-border anti-competitive practices, and even more so in the maritime transport sector, given its global nature;
     
  6. Calls upon UNCTAD to continue its analytical work in the area of international maritime transport to include the monitoring and analysis of the effects of cooperative arrangements and mergers not only on freight rates but also on the frequency, efficiency, reliability and quality of services, as part of its work on the Review of Maritime Transport;
     
  7. Emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation in the enforcement of competition law and policy, and invites competition authorities to strengthen their bilateral and regional cooperation;
     
  8. Underlines the benefits of enhancing and strengthening enforcement capacities and promoting a competition culture in developing countries and countries with economies in transition through capacity-building and advocacy activities targeting all relevant stakeholders, requests the UNCTAD secretariat to disseminate the summary of the discussions of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy on this topic to all interested member States, including through its technical cooperation activities and peer reviews, and encourages member States to submit best practices to the newly created UNCTAD virtual catalogue of international best practices on competition and consumer protection policies;
     
  9. Calls upon UNCTAD to promote and support cooperation between competition authorities and Governments in accordance with the Accra Accord (paragraphs 102 to 104), the Nairobi Maafikiano (paragraphs 69 and 76 (x)) and the resolution adopted by the Seventh United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (paragraphs 3 and 16);[3]
     
  10. Requests the UNCTAD secretariat to prepare a study on competition issues in the digital economy for the eighteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, taking into account previous work conducted by member States on that matter, to facilitate consultations on a specific topic, chosen from among the clusters in the resolution adopted by the Seventh United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices;
     
  11. Requests the UNCTAD secretariat to facilitate a discussion on competition issues in the health sector, specifically looking into pharmaceuticals and health-care services at the eighteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy;
     
  12. Expresses its appreciation for the report prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat on the work carried out within the discussion group on international cooperation which was established at the sixteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts with the aim of pursuing the exchange of information and debate on the modalities for implementing section F of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices, takes note of the survey report on obstacles to international cooperation as well as the proposals by member States on enhancing international cooperation, and calls for the extension of the mandate of the discussion group on international cooperation for another year so as to continue the work of discussion group on international cooperation members on a voluntary basis and report on its activities to the eighteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy;
     
  13. Decides to further consider the issue of international cooperation of competition authorities in the fight against cross-border anti-competitive practices and mergers during its eighteenth session in 2019 as a separate agenda item;
     
  14. Requests the UNCTAD secretariat to prepare, for the consideration of the eighteenth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, an updated review of capacity-building and technical assistance activities, taking into account information to be received from member States no later than 28 February 2019;
     
  15. Requests the UNCTAD secretariat to revise and update the commentaries of chapters IX and X of the Model Law on Competition on the basis of submissions to be received from member States no later than 28 February 2019;
     
  16. Notes with appreciation the voluntary financial and other contributions received from member States, invites member States to continue to assist UNCTAD on a voluntary basis in its capacity-building and technical cooperation activities by providing experts, training facilities or financial resources, and requests the UNCTAD secretariat to pursue and, where possible, focus its capacity-building and technical cooperation activities, including training, on maximizing their impact in all interested countries.

 

                     [1]   TD/RBP/CONF.8/11, chapter I.

                     [2]   TD/519/Add.2.

                     [3]   General Assembly resolution 70/186 on consumer protection, adopted on 22 December 2015, annex.