Competition policy week: 9-13 July 2012

04 July 2012

UNCTAD will be hosting a number of expert meetings next week to discuss the role of competition policy in promoting economic development and cooperation. The organization is the United Nations focal point on all work related to competition and consumer policies.

Competition authorities from around the world will be gathering at the UNCTAD annual event in Geneva, Switzerland, from April 9 to 13 July 2012.

Included in the programme marking Competition Policy Week will be the 20th session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy (IGE). The session comes after a successful year for the organization in matters related to encouraging competition.

UNCTAD staged its 13th quadrennial conference from 22-26 April in Doha, Qatar. Among other activities in Doha, it reviewed the role of competition policy as a tool for economic development and poverty reduction.

"Governments must create fair markets through the prudent use of macroeconomic policy as well as other regulatory mechanisms, laws, and policies that maintain a healthy environment for enterprise and economic development to flourish. Competition law and policy is one such area that governments need to get right," UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told the session.

This year's conference on competition law and policy will include panel presentations and discussions on important areas for competition agencies and for business: bid-rigging in public procurement; cooperation between competition agencies in cross-border cases; and a variety of other topics, such as knowledge management as a tool for competition-agency effectiveness. In addition, the IGE will hold a tripartite peer review of the competition policies of Tanzania,Zambia, and Zimbabwe. And it will conduct a peer review of Mongolia.

The UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy is the most globally representative meeting of competition agency officials and private sector representatives from the legal, economic, academic, business, and civil society fields. Competition experts from around the world will review the results of their work over the past year to enhance effective co-ordination, co-operation, and convergence in competition-law practice, enforcement, and policy, and to develop work plans for the coming year.

Around 550 representatives from 115 agencies will be attending this year's IGE, as well as more than 100 non-governmental organizations, observers, and guests. The session will rank among the largest UNCTAD sessions on competition law and policy held since the Sixth UN Conference to Review the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices held in Geneva in November 2010.

The session will also review the following topics:

(i)Competition policy in public procurement,
(ii) Cooperation in cross-border anti-competitive cases; and
(iii)Knowledge management as a tool for agency effectiveness.


The IGE will immediately be followed by an ad-hoc expert meeting on the interface between competition policy and consumer protection from 12-13 July. This meeting will discuss new and emerging issues in consumer protection and new conceptual frameworks for addressing consumer issues. It also will make proposals for revising the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection.

The IGE will be preceded by the third meeting of UNCTAD research platform on competition, to be held on Sunday, 8 July. This meeting will discuss progress reports on three research projects: competition neutrality, state action on competition policy; and the interface between IPR and competition policy. Two new research projects will be launched: comparative analysis of the institutional design of competition agencies; and competition provisions in regional cooperation and trade agreements.

The group's reports on competition policy will contribute to discussions at the Global Competition Forum meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in February 2013 and at the International Competition Network Conference, April 2013.