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EMERGING COMPETITION LAWS IN INDIA: AN ACADEMICIANS PERSPECTIVES Dr.(Mrs.) Vijaya Katti Professor & Chairperson (MDPs) Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

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Presentation on theme: "EMERGING COMPETITION LAWS IN INDIA: AN ACADEMICIANS PERSPECTIVES Dr.(Mrs.) Vijaya Katti Professor & Chairperson (MDPs) Indian Institute of Foreign Trade."— Presentation transcript:

1 EMERGING COMPETITION LAWS IN INDIA: AN ACADEMICIANS PERSPECTIVES Dr.(Mrs.) Vijaya Katti Professor & Chairperson (MDPs) Indian Institute of Foreign Trade New Delhi - 110 016

2 Competition Is a situation in a market in which firms or sellers independently strive for the buyers patronage in order to achieve a particular business objective for example, profits, sales or market share (World Bank, 1999) Is an essential hand maiden to efficient trade. The ultimate raison d etre of competition is the interest of the consumer.

3 Contd… Is the foundation of an efficient working market system, which has several advantages over a planned economy and constitutes the pre-condition which prevents freedom of decision and action of self interested individuals or entities from leading to anarchy or chaos but rather to economically optimal socially fair and desirable market results. (Report of High Level Committee on Competition Policy, Deptt. of Company Affairs, 2000). Competition leads to greater dynamic efficiency in the economy by bringing about innovation, technological development, lower price and better quality and service for the consumer.

4 WHAT IS COMPETITION POLICY? âCompetition in economic parlance signifies a market structure involving a large number of players such that no single player is in a position to significantly influence the market. âAt the other extreme is Monopoly where a single firm rules the market and earns super normal profit by controlling output and/or supply and by charging higher than cost of production from the consumers âAt the intermediate level is Oligopoly where a few market players are available. Oligopolists manage to control the market by colluding among themselves since none of them alone may be in a position to control the market. Such collusions are generally tacit.

5 Contd… âIt is not necessary that there are a large number of producers/suppliers to have competition conditions. âA single producer can exist and provide a competitive atmosphere provided entry of new firms is easy and not costly. âEntry barriers can be due to the market position of incumbent firms, legal barriers or strategic barriers àIncumbent firms may use their power as first Movers to block entry. àLegal barriers include licensing and other Government regulations

6 Contd… àStrategic barriers are generally erected by incumbent firms in the form of artificial and sudden price reduction with a view to thwarting new entry. âContestability of markets ensure competitive conditions in the market. âCompetition is expected to enhance allocated and productive efficiency so as to maximize economic welfare. âMonopoly (market) power tends to lead to inefficient allocation of sources and discourages innovation or introduction of better technology.

7 OBJECTIVES OF COMPETITION LAW & POLICY âPromoting economic efficiency in both static and dynamic sense: âprotecting consumers from the undue exercise of market power: âfacilitating economic liberalization, including privatization. Deregulation and reduction of external trade barriers: âPreserving and promoting the sound development of a market economy âensuring fairness and equity in market place transactions: âProtecting the public interest including in some cases considerations relating to industrial competitiveness and employment âProtecting opportunities for small and medium business

8 Competition Law It is a tool to implement and enforce competition policy and to prevent and punish anti-competitive business practices by firms and unnecessary Government interference in the market. Competition Law generally covers 3 areas: – Anti - Competitive Agreements, e.g., cartels, – Abuse of Dominant Position by enterprises, e.g., predatory pricing, barriers to entry and – Regulation of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As).

9 Contd… âThe need for Competition Law arises because market can suffer from failures and distortions, and various players can resort to anti-competitive activities such as cartels, abuse of dominance etc. which adversely impact economic efficiency and consumer welfare. âThus there is need for Competition Law, and a Competition Watchdog with the authority for enforcing Competition Law.

10 CONFLICT OF OBJECTIVES âThe objectives of competition policy in any country may be conflicting among themselves. For example, the objective of protecting the interests of small and medium industries may conflict with the objective of efficiency. âTherefore, the concept of core values for promoting competition policy has evolved. âThe anti-competitive nature of a market behaviour is decided based on whether it is in conformity with the core values or not.

11 Promotion of Competition âFor promotion of competition in the market an appropriate competition policy is required. âCompetition policy includes those government measures that directly affect behaviour of enterprises and structure of industry. (Khemani and Mark Dutz 1996)

12 Elements of Competition Policy Competition policy has two elements :- Putting in place a set of Policies that enhance competition in local and national markets. A Law designed to prevent anti competitive business practices and unnecessary government intervention.

13 RESTRICTIVE PRACTICES INVOLVING INTERNATIONAL TRADE âMarket Access for Imports àImport cartels àState trading, exclusive or special privileges and monopolies àProblems of access to downstream market àProblems of access to upstream market àCross subsidization

14 Cont… âExport cartels âInternational cartels, mergers and abuses of dominant positions âPredatory pricing, price discrimination, cross-subsidization and dumping

15 Competition Policy It includes Reforms in certain Policy areas to make these more pro- competition:- Industrial policy Trade policy Privatization/disinvestment Economic Regulation State aids Labour policy Other such policies

16 Industrial Policy Industrial Policy has to address and reform licensing requirements, restrictions on capacities, or on foreign technology tie ups, guidelines on location of industries, reservations for small scale industry, etc. These adversely affect free competition in the market.

17 Trade Policy Trade policy has important implications for development of competition in the markets. Measures for liberalisation of trade promote greater competition e.g. reducing tariffs, removal of: quotas/physical controls, investment controls, conditions relating to local content etc.

18 Privatisation/Disinvestment Empirical research has found that state- owned enterprises generally tend to be less efficient than private owned firms, for reasons such as manager compensation, low incentives, lack of direct accountability, hard budget constraints for managers, etc. State owned enterprises are generally insulated from market forces and receive protection/benefits such as government imposed barriers to entry, price regulation and subsidies. Thus privatization of state owned enterprises is important element of competition policy. However, in privatization/ disinvestment process, care is to be taken that state monopoly is not replaced by private monopoly.

19 Economic Regulations New legislation and regulations to promote competition and to bring about restructuring of major industrial sectors is essential. Legislation to aim at separating natural monopoly elements from potentially competitive activities, and the regulatory functions from commercial functions, and also create several competing entities through restructuring of essential competition activities and to create a competitive environment in following sectors. Examples: – Electricity sector – Telecommunications sector – Ports

20 State Aids Several state aids create unequal operating conditions for businesses. Examples: – Subsidies – Tax rebates – Preferential loans – Capital injection – Public procurement Experience suggests that such policy measures rarely have successful results and destroy incentives for firms to become efficient. Temporary specific state- aid for well stated public purpose can be justified.

21 COMPETITION POLICY IN THE WTO CONTEXT âHavana Charter and the still born International Trade Organization (ITO) âChapter V of the Havana Charter entitled Restrictive Business Practices contained Articles on the obligations of member governments to address such practices. ITO WAS TO FACILITATE COMPLAINTS LODGED BY MEMBERS. However, ITO never came into being

22 COMPETITION POLICY IN THE WTO CONTEXT âThe Charter defined the purpose of the obligation provisions as follows: ……. To prevent, on the part of private or commercial public enterprises, business practices affecting international trade which restrain competition, limit access to markets, or foster monopolistic control, whenever such practices have harmful effects on the expansion of production or trade ………"

23 Contd… âSince the Havana Charter did not enter into force the GATT contracting parties agreed to a Decision on Arrangements for Consultations on Restrictive Business Practices, in November 1960. âThe various WTO agreements especially the main GATT, GATS and TRIPS agreements provide for consultations and cooperation on anti-competitive practices

24 WORKING GROUP ON TRADE & COMPETITION POLICY âThe Singapore Ministerial Conference (December 1996) brought the issue of trade and competition policy more explicitly into the work programme of WTO. âThis working group was established to undertake a study process related to the interaction between trade and competition policy, including anti-competitive practices, in order to identify any areas that may merit further consideration in the WTO framework. âThe Ministerial decision specified that the work of the working group will not pre-judge whether negotiations will be initiated in the future and that future negotiations, if any, will take place only after an explicit consensus decision by among WTO members.

25 Contd… âAs mandated by the Singapore Ministerial Conference the progress of the Working Group was reviewed at the end of 1998 on completion of two years of study process. âSubsequently, the General Council of WTO agreed to continued study by the Working Group, but with focussed attention on the following three areas:

26 1.The relevance of fundamental WTO principles of national treatment, transparency and most favoured nations treatment to competition policy and vice versa; 2.Approaches to promoting cooperation and communication among members, including in the field of technical cooperation; and 3.The contribution of competition policy to achieving the objectives of WTO, including promotion of international trade Contd…

27 Background to Indias Competition Law Earlier Law MRTP Act enacted in 1969 Belongs to the era of controlled economy, as against the market based economy Objectives were to prevent concentration of economic power, to control monopolies, and to prohibit monopolistic and restrictive trade practices Major amendments to MRTP Act undertaken in – 1984 – major addition was relating to Unfair Trade Practices, – 1991 – deletion of Chapter relating to Mergers and Acquisitions, and – Addition relating to Award of Compensation.

28 Competition Act 2002 An Act to establish a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect interest of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India Under the Act the Commission can enquire and adjudicate in respect of – Anti-Competitive Agreements – Abuse of Dominant Position – Regulation of Mergers and Acquisitions –Commission also has responsibility to undertake Competition Advocacy

29 Anti-Competitive Agreements These are agreements which cause or are likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India: Horizontal Agreements: These are between and among competitors who are at the same stage of production, supply, distribution, etc. These are presumed to be illegal Examples: cartels, bid rigging, collusive bidding, sharing of markets, etc.

30 Vertical Agreements: Vertical Agreements are between parties at different stages of production, supply, distribution, etc. These are not presumed illegal; are subject to rule of reason. Examples: tie-in arrangements, exclusive supply/distribution agreements, refusal to deal. Contd…

31 Abuse of Dominant Position Includes practices like: Unfair or discriminatory conditions or prices, Limiting or restricting production or technical/scientific development, Denial of market access, and Predatory pricing.

32 Relevant Product Market Physical characteristics or end-use of goods Price of goods or service Consumer preferences Exclusion of in-house production Existence of specialised producers Classification of industrial products

33 Relevant Geographic Market Regulatory trade barriers Local specification requirements National procurement policies Adequate distribution facilities Transport costs Language Consumer Preferences Need for secure or regular supplies or rapid after- sales services.

34 Combinations Regulation Combinations, in terms of the meaning given to them in the Act, include mergers, amalgamations, acquisitions and acquisitions of control. Horizontal Mergers It must first be established as to what the relevant market is. To establish whether the higher concentration in the market resulting from the merger will increase the possibility of collusive or unilaterally harmful behaviour. Potential contestability Even mergers that lead to an uncompetitive outcome could result in certain efficiencies that more than make up for the welfare loss resulting from this.

35 Contd… Vertical Mergers Competition law must not normally have any objections to vertical mergers. Conglomerate Mergers A conglomerate merger is a merger that is neither horizontal nor vertical. Pre-Notification The requirements for prior notification.

36 Contd… There are two possibilities: –The first is that approval or disapproval of the merger may be obtained (possibly within a specified time) before going ahead with the merger. –The second option is that no notification of permission is required and that the threat of action in case of a violation should generally enforce legal behaviour.

37 Competition Advocacy The Competition Commission of India, in terms of advocacy provisions in the Act, is enabled to participate in the formulation of the countrys economic policies and to participate in the reviewing of laws related to competition at the instance of the Central Government. Commission is required to take measures for promotion of Competition Advocacy, creating Awareness and imparting Training about competition issues [Section 49(3)]

38 Contd… Advocacy means competition promotion through nonenforcement measures For promotion of competition advocacy and creation of awareness about competition issues, the Commission may:- i) Undertake appropriate programmes / activities etc.; ii) Encourage and interact with the organizations of stakeholders, academic community etc. to undertake activities, programmes, studies, research work, etc. on competition issues;

39 cont… iii) Encourage the academic / professional institutions to include competition policy & law in the curriculum; iv) Undertake appropriate capacity building programmes and arrange training for its officers / staff and stakeholders etc. The Commission is required to give opinion to the Central Government on matters relating to Competition Policies, but such opinion is not binding on the Central Government [Section 49(1)].

40 Academicians Perspective Competition should be a factor to be reckoned with in the trade and market policies of a country. There should be a competition policy and of course a competition law, which should be structured that they subserve by and large the consumers, consumer interest and consumer welfare.

41 Contd… There should be a enough flexibility in the competition and trade policies to deal with the specific needs and requirements of a country. Public interest dimension can have primacy over the consumer interest dimesion, in exceptional circumstances. Care should be taken not to allow public interest to be abused to circumvent competition. Competition policy should inhere the development dimension in its approach and implementation.

42 THANK YOU Contact: Dr. (Mrs.) Vijaya Katti Professor and Chairperson (MDPs) IIFT, New Delhi E-mail:;

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