Islamabad: The 2nd International Conference of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), being organized with the collaboration of Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF)/USAID started here on Thursday.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics & Planning and Development, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was the Chief Guest in the opening session. CCP Chairperson, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Members Mr. Abdul Ghaffar, Dr. Joseph Wilson, Vadiyya Khalil, Dr. Shehzad Ansar and Mueen Batlay, Secretary to the Commission, Hayat Jasra, and Registrar of the Commission Mr. Ikram ul Haq Qureshi were also present on the occasion.
The Conference is being attended by panelists and participants from the Americas, the European Union having representations of 27 countries, Africa, Far East, South Asia and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) having representation of 15 countries.
Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister lauded the work being done by the Competition Commission of Pakistan saying that the institution will be further strengthened to work towards a competitive economy. He thanked the conference delegates, particularly those coming from abroad to attend the conference. He said the conference was a very important initiative of the Commission.
CCP Chairperson, Rahat Kaunain Hassan in her opening remarks touched upon key areas of competition law enforcement, advocacy and the challenges faced by CCP in implementing competition law. She thanked all the participants. She said the purpose of this conference is to create awareness about the significance of a competition regime for our economy and highlight some of the more critical challenges we face in its enforcement.
“We look forward to enrich ourselves by learning about the experiences of the developed and other developing regimes. We see your presence as an endorsement of our mandate – to provide, free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anticompetitive behavior. We thank you for the confidence reposed in us,” she said.
Rahat said the Commission has a dedicated team and she has the confidence in its hard work and tenacity in encountering daunting challenges. She paid tribute to the Media and the civil society for consistently playing a very positive role in communicating to the public the importance of a robust competition regime.
Speaking about the performance of CCP, Rahat said despite being in its infancy it has taken significant enforcement actions. “We have busted and fined cartels, which is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the economy. Industries that have been taken on and penalized include banks (Rs.205 million), cement (Rs.6.3 billion), sugar (proposed max penalty), LPG (Rs.318 million), poultry (Rs.50 million), edible oil (Rs.50 million), jute mills (Rs.23 million), dredging (Rs.200 million) etc.”
She acknowledged the support extended by CCP counterparts in Turkey and US who have greatly facilitated our capacity building. “It is most encouraging that some of the new agencies now approach CCP for technical training and assistance.”
On first day of the 2-Day Conference, three sessions were held i.e. Challenge for Competition Agencies to Deal with Cartels and Cartels in Disguise and; Deceptive Marketing & Consumer Protection; Lessons Learnt and Sharing of Country Experiences in Advocacy and Enforcement.
Presentations were given by Mr. Manuel Sebastiao President, Portuguese Competition Authority, Mr. Halil Baha Karabudak, Advisor to Chairman, Turkish Competition Authority, Turkey, Dr. Paulo Burnier da Silveira, Head of International Affairs, CADE, Brazil, Mr. Khalid Mirza, Former Chairman, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Mr. Russell Damtoft, Associate Director, Office of International Affairs, US Federal Trade Commission, Dr. Huma Bukhari, President, Consumers Forum, Karachi, Mr. Tounakti Khalifa, Director-General, Tunisian Competition Council, Ms. Halima Bensouda Morocco, Dr. Robert Ian McEwin, Professor, National University, Singapore.
The panelists shared their perspectives and experiences in the enforcement and advocacy of competition law in their respective countries. They lauded the role of Competition Commission of Pakistan in the enforcement and advocacy of competition law. Mr. Russel Damtfot said the US FTC could not achieve in 50 years what CCP achieved in 4 years.