Please see the following ICN Quarterly Update, courtesy of Bruno Lasserre, ICN NGA Liaison and President of the Autorité de la concurrence.
Dear ICN community,
Welcome to the last ICN update for 2010.
1. ICN’s 2nd decade: update on progress.
The Steering Group’s discussions in October and December focused on the 2nd decade project and how the ICN will implement the feedback received from ICN members and NGAs. Summaries of the feedback have been posted on the ICN website at www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/second-decade.aspx. Philip Collins with the UK OFT has been informally appointed as liaison between the ICN and OECD with a view to finding benefits for both organizations through working more closely with one another.
The ICN Working Groups are now reviewing their long-term work plans in light of the feedback received. ICN members and NGAs are encouraged to get actively involved in this review and give their views on the future work planning.
2. Working Groups: past workshops (from Yokohama to Rome to Brussels) and future work planning.
The Cartel Workshop was held from October 5-7, 2010 and was hosted in Yokohama by the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Approximately 150 participants from more than 50 jurisdictions joined the Workshop, including about 40 Non-Governmental Advisors (NGAs). The theme of the Workshop was “the efficient detection, investigation, and punishment of cartel conduct – making the best use of agency resources.” During the three-day workshop, participants discussed topics such as: cartel awareness and outreach, cartel detection, international cartel investigations, leniency / immunity, prosecution and case resolution. During the plenary and breakout sessions participants engaged in lively discussions and shared experiences on efficient and resourceful methods for detecting and investigating cartels, as well as resolving cases. These discussions were particularly useful for smaller and newer agencies.
The Merger Workshop, hosted by the Italian Competition Authority, was held in Rome on November 3-4, 2010. Approximately 135 agency representatives and NGAs from 50 jurisdictions attended the workshop. The workshop addressed issues in merger policy and practice. The MWG has an ongoing evaluation exercise to solicit feedback on members’ knowledge and use of the MWG’s work product and ideas for future work. Preliminary indications show (i) a good response rate: over 50 Competition Authorities responded to the MWG’s survey and (ii) 95% of respondents are familiar and do use one or more of the MWG’s work product. Members also agreed that the MWG will circulate a survey to each member’s NGAs (the survey was circulated to NGAs on December 2010). Results to both surveys will contribute to the future direction of the MWG.
The UCWG held a Unilateral Conduct Workshop on December 2-3, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, hosted by DG Competition. Over 150 delegates from 55 jurisdictions attended the workshop. The workshop promoted greater understanding and implementation of the ICN’s Recommended Practices on Dominance/Substantial Market Power Analysis and the exchange of practical experience among delegates in small group breakout sessions using case studies drawn from Member jurisdictions.
3. Vice-Chairs: latest activity.
The Vice-Chair for Advocacy and Implementation (VC A&I) and the Advocacy and Implementation Network (AIN) created the ICN Work Products Catalogue which is a concise and comprehensive catalogue of ICN work products. The catalogue can be found on the ICN website (here) and will be a useful tool to find ICN work products to promote implementation. The VC A&I also continued to be engaged in the promotion and management of the AIN Support Program (AISUP). The AISUP was established in 2008 to encourage competition agencies to become familiar with and consult ICN work product. (For more information on the AISUP, please go to www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/aisup_flyer_ver.2010.pdf.) Currently, agencies from Vietnam, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Zambia are the recipients of the support program. If agencies are looking for ICN’s support with regard to ICN work products in considering changes to their competition laws, regulations, etc., please contact email@example.com.
The Vice-Chair for International Coordination (VCIC) is currently coordinating the work of a Task Force that is conducting a sector specific study to identify barriers in the haulage sector in the East African Community Region. The members of the Task Force, in addition to the Investment Climate Department of the World Bank Group, include representatives of the competition agencies of the following countries: United Kingdom (OFT), United States, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Zambia and Mexico. In addition, the Vice-Chair for International Coordination is preparing a final draft of a report competition related activities conducted by multinational organizations over the last five years in order to further strengthen cooperation with other organizations.
The Vice-Chair for Outreach is leading the development of a pilot program for a comprehensive curriculum of training materials to serve as a virtual university on competition law and practice for competition agency officials. The initial modules under development address three topics: (1) history and objectives of antitrust and competition policy; (2) market definition; and (3) market power. Each module will discuss the subject area in a conceptual and practical manner in order to assist competition agency officials in learning and implementing competition principles. The ICN Curriculum project team is making good progress towards having the online training modules to unveil at the Annual Conference in The Hague. The ICN also launched a blog last year where members can post recent developments in their jurisdiction, reports, and other public information. The blog averages over 1000 visitors each month.
4. NGA Liaison
The NGA Liaison is leading the creation of an NGA toolkit, which will be presented and discussed at the Annual Conference in The Hague during a breakout session dedicated to NGA engagement. This is the first time that the Conference will have a dedicated breakout session on NGAs. The purpose of the NGA toolkit is to guide NGAs on how to get more actively involved with the ICN and to help ICN members develop their work and cooperation with NGAs within the ICN. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
5. Annual Conference: on schedule.
As a reminder, the 10th Annual Conference, hosted by the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa), will be held in The Hague on May 17-20, 2011. The conference preparations are on schedule. In response to the feedback received, more time will be allocated to breakout sessions. The NMa has prepared a questionnaire for the Special Project 2011 on “Competition Enforcement and Consumer Welfare: Setting the Agenda”, the key findings of which will be discussed at the conference in The Hague. For more information, please visit the official website of the conference.
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I look forward to updating you on the ICN future activity in 2011, which marks the 10th anniversary of the ICN. Best wishes for the New Year.
President of the Autorité de la concurrence