Prime Minister calls for global cooperation among anti-trust regulators

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called for greater cooperation among competition authorities from across the world, in the wake of growing number of cross-border M&A deals and possible anti-competitive practices across boundaries.

"Business and money know no geographical boundaries. The increasing integration of the world economy in the form of multi-jurisdictional mergers and cross-border anti-competitive conduct makes international cooperation in this arena vitally important for all modern competition authorities," he said after inaugurating the third BRICS International Competition Conference in Delhi.

"This takes greater significance in view of the increasing trade flows among BRICS nations that are now on the horizon."

The two-day conference, organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), was being attended by top officials from competition authorities in BRICS countries and other parts of the world.

Fair trade regulator CCI would also sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Union (EU) on competition issues during the conference, while a Delhi Accord shall be signed with BRICS competition authorities on Friday, the second day of the conference.

The ongoing summit would discuss various issues and challenges in competition enforcement in BRICS countries and take the agenda of cooperation among the BRICS competition authorities forward from the earlier two conferences.

The conference is organised biennially by one of the BRICS competition authorities. The first such conference was held in Russia in September 2009, and the second BRICS ICC was organised in China in September 2011.

In his welcome address, CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla hoped that the summit would provide an opportunity for the five BRICS countries to share the challenges faced in their respective countries and gain from the experiences of good practices of mature competition authorities and the international community at large.

Delivering keynote address, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot asked the BRICS competition authorities "to embark on an exercise of jointly addressing the common challenges they face in enforcing competition regimes".

The Prime Minister said that cooperation in competition policy and enforcement is of vital importance and hoped that the summit would provide an opportunity to the authorities to share their "experiences regarding common challenges and articulate a new consensus on key issues".

"BRICS Competition Authorities are also ideally positioned to bridge the gap between mature competition authorities and nascent ones," he said.

Terming a sound competition policy as an essential element to meet growth, development and poverty reduction targets, he said, "Anti-competitive behaviour deprives markets of their ability to deliver efficient results and it also hurts the poor most of all."