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12th ICN Conference - final remarks

< previous | next > 26.04.2013

12th ICN Conference - final remarks

10 plenary sessions, over 30 working groups’ meetings – these are results of the three-day International Competition Network Conference (ICN) hosted by UOKiK and concerning, inter alia, the cooperation of antimonopoly authorities with courts, establishing and forming the competition protection authorities in Eastern Europe, and the effective cartel detection. Next year the Network meeting will be held in Morocco

Every year heads and experts of antimonopoly authorities worldwide meet at the International Competition Network conference (ICN). In 2013 the event took place in Warsaw (24-26 April) and was hosted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. The President of the Republic of Poland made an official welcome to the conference.

The conference gives opportunity to its attendees to familiarize with operating of foreign authorities, exchange of best practice and experiences. This year’s meeting concerned five following issues: enforcing and promoting competition policy, cartels, merger control and the abuse of a dominant position. 10 plenary sessions and more than 30 meetings of working groups were held within the three days.

Competition - the condition of economic growth

Representatives of international organisations - World Trade Organization, European Commission, World Bank and International Chamber of Commerce - met at the conference opening session.They stressed the significance of competition protection which guarantees the economic growth. Joaquin Almunia, European Commission Vice-President, Harsha Singh, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization and  Prof. Witold Orłowski, Chief Economic Advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Polska, former Chief Economist to the President of the Republic of Poland, were amongst the panel speakers.

Authorities and courts

The cooperation of antimonopoly authorities with judges and efficient decision presentation in the courtroom was another issue raised on the first conference day. The specially drafted report by UOKiK was the starting point for discussions. It considered the relation between competition protection authorities and courts of 45 ICN members. The meetings were devoted to the report results and discussions over its essential remarks. The conference participants expressed various approaches towards e.g. using outsourced expert-economists’ opinion by judges, the scope of applying such analyses, grounds for forming high-profile courts handling competition cases as well as the notion of cooperation between the authorities and judges. Amongst the postulates raised during the discussions, the concept of drawing up the code of good practice, which would specify the way antimonopoly authorties could train the persons adjudicating in antimonopoly cases, is definitely worth noting.

Furthermore, participants to the conference pointed it is necessary to draft decisions in a clear way. For example, in New Zealand it is emphasised that plain language should be used in judgements and the structure of decisions should facilitate following them (e.g. a brief of decision content at the beginning of each section).

Supporting competition

Among the topics discussed on the second conference day was supporting authorities of these states where the effective antimonopoly law is created. Since the year 1990, the competition protection law has been implemented in over 100 countries, including Poland, who is currently sharing its experiences with other states, also under the „Eastern Partnership” programme. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is supporting the law and structural reform within competition protection in Georgia.

Conference speakers from the Ukraine, where the authorities implemented the competition development programme, and among the prime objectives is the change of structure of the now strongly monopolized market, were talking over their experiences during the conference. Moreover, representatives of developing countries and international organizations (including the OECD, the World Bank and the UNCTAD), who support the development of competition in other states, also stated their views on the topic. During the discussions, it was stressed that the effective creation and amending the antimonopoly law should constitute a part of broad economic reforms, in particular in these countries, where the legislation has not got long traditions. Furthermore, the positive aspects of promoting competition among authorities of particular states were emphasized.

Cooperation in cartel detection

The last day of conference was devoted, inter alia, to the effective detection and elimination of cartels. A lot of attention was drawn to the international cooperation in this area, which is of great significance at the time of globalization. The conference attendees pointed that the exchange of information allows for identifying these prohibited practices on the domestic market which appeared in other states as well as applying methods and analyses used by foreign authorities when handling similar cases. Main challenges of cooperation were identified, such as various definitions of secret and confidential data, as well as different legal regimes. It was stressed that both the formal and informal methods of cooperation are of equal consideration, including the exchange of cooperation within the ICN.

Conclusions

- It was truly a great honour for UOKiK to host such distinguished speakers and guests, who have come from all over the world to share their knowledge and experience in the field of competition protection – stated Magorzata Krasnodebska-Tomkiel, the President of UOKiK when closing the conference. The next ICN conference will be held in Marrakesh in 2014 and it will be hosted by the Morocco Competition Council.

The International Competition Network (ICN) was created in New York in 2001. It consists of 127 competition protection authorities from 111 states. The main task of the ICN is the exchange of information and experiences and working out common activities and concepts to protect competition. UOKiK has been the ICN member since the very beginning of the network.

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Additional information for the media:
Małgorzata Cieloch, Spokesperson for UOKiK
Department of International Relations and Communication
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Tel.: +48 22 827 28 92, 55 60 314, 55 60 430
Fax: +48 22 826 11 86
E-mail: [SCODE]bWFsZ29yemF0YS5jaWVsb2NoQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

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The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013)
The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013)
The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013) The 12th Annual ICN Conference (23-26 April 2013)

 

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See also:
ICPENICNPolish Aid