Last week at the network’s 11th annual conference in Rio de Janeiro the ICN confirmed the selection of the network’s new Steering Group chair, Eduardo Pérez Motta, head of Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (CFC). He succeeds John Fingleton, Chief Executive of the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading.
In addition to pledging to continue the superb work already underway, Mr. Pérez Motta outlined three priorities for his tenure: enhanced member engagement, improved hands-on assistance to members, and greater visibility for competition policy and principles.
Enhanced member engagement continues to pose a challenge for the network, which has grown from 16 to 123 members in a decade. Mr. Perez Motta is committed to ensuring that the ICN’s work responds as much as possible to its members’ needs. This will require continuing to produce the work products most valued by members, including workshops, recommended practices, and other mechanisms to promote cooperation and convergence.
Direct assistance to members envisions a growing advocacy role for the ICN with its own members. This represents a significant step forward from the ICN’s understandably cautious approach in its early years but builds on recent steps in this direction over the past few years. Mr. Pérez Motta envisions that, at member request, the ICN will advocate its best practices and other work product in support of domestic reforms. Mr. Pérez Motta believes that the ICN can be a voice for consumers, whose interests are often underrepresented because they are diffuse, whereas the interests of those opposing the application of competition principles tend to be concentrated and well-organized. He notes that the ICN’s support and best practices have been important in achieving legislative and agency reforms in Mexico, and he seeks to help other members benefit from such support.
Increasing the visibility of competition policy and principles in the domestic and international arenas may be the most ambitious of Mr. Pérez Motta’s goals. His vision statement recognizes that anticompetitive government restraints stifle growth, retard innovation, and reduce the welfare of millions across ICN member economies, and that these costs are often borne disproportionately by the poor. He explains that promoting competition policy requires persistence, showing policymakers how competition policy is consistent with their goals or even how competition policy can help them achieve their goals. The ICN can play a valuable role by harnessing its collective experience and expertise to provide concrete guidance on principles for formulating and implementing competition-friendly policy. This initiative enables the ICN to promote its procompetitive agenda to a wider audience, reflecting the maturity of the network in its second decade.
The complete vision statement is available on the ICN website.