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IIM Kashipur  prepared a report on the “Third International Conference on Competition Regulation and Competitiveness” held on 5th February 2016 at the Lalit (Regal), New Delhi, India. The conference was organized in partnership with the futuristic think-cum-action tank Shaping Tomorrow and the law firm AZB & Partners. The conference had Anupam Sanghi Regulatory Practices as supporting partner and LexisNexis as research solution partner, also. Here is the summary of the report of the conference:

Preface

Backdrop

The importance of competition regulation is now globally recognized. In India also, a modern competition law is being implemented since May 2009. Several matters have been appealed before the Competition Appellate Tribunal. Many matters have also reached before the Supreme Court. Jurisprudence is evolving, with heavy penalties being imposed for infringements. Many issues are emerging in practically every area of competition regulation. Development of jurisprudence in the right direction is of utmost importance, so as to balance the requirements of due legal process and the primary economic objectives of the law.

The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, with certain markets growing exponentially, certain products acquiring huge value, defying understanding within the traditional market and regulatory frameworks, also making application of traditional competition regulation tools very difficult. In the next 5-10 years, a significant part the markets would comprise two-sided e-platforms, recognizing no boundaries, with producers, suppliers, vendors and buyers all over the world connected within a sustainable green marketplace, with its own features of governance, security and privacy. Many of the present day regulatory tools may be inadequate to even fully understand these markets, what to say of regulating them effectively.

The Conference

In the above backdrop, International Conference on Competition Regulation & Competitiveness was organized on February 5,2016 by the Indian Institute of Management ( IIM), Kashipur in partnership with the law firm AZB & Partners, and the futuristic think-cum-action tank Shaping Tomorrow Consultants LLP, supported by AnupamSanghi Regulatory Practices and LexisNexis. The Conference brought together various stakeholders and discussed the legal, economic, management and institutional dimensions of competition regulation in India,. The conference also discussed the way forward for supporting a robust competition regulation framework in India, so that the potential of competition regulation could be realized to enhance innovation, consumer welfare and economic growth.

Conference proceedings session wise have been provided in this report. Some of the key papers and presentations are also enclosed as part of the report. A comprehensive report on “ State of Competition Regulation & Competitiveness in India” developed by the AZB Partners especially for the conference is also included as part of this report. The report provided detailed information about the institutional framework and different stakeholders, case law, developing jurisprudence and the impact on markets, firms and competitiveness in India.

Agenda

IIM Kashipur included the complete agenda of the conference in their report. To know the complete conference program please click here.

Inaugural Session I

Overview of Competition Regulation in India

This Session would provide an overview of competition regulation and its impact on markets, firms & consumers in India, through the “Report on the State of Competition Regulation & Competitiveness in India”, prepared specially for the Conference, to be released by Chief Guest & Chairman CCI. The likely impact of Competition Regulation, its reach to the people of the country and development of competition culture would be deliberated upon, as also its impact on the various dimensions of competitiveness. Lessons from experience from other jurisdictions would also be discussed.

Technical Session II

Analyzing & Regulating High-Tech Markets & Markets of Tomorrow: Need for New Tools?

Competition enforcement in the High Tech markets has been a great challenge all over the world. CCI has also received cases from the High Tech/E-Commerce sector like, Google, Ericsson & Flipkart. The key features of these sectors, as also of the markets of tomorrow, which will have very different platforms, processes, participants and people, will be discussed along with the implications for competition agencies and the need to develop new tools for effective regulation. The impact of technology on markets and corporate structures/strategies world-wide would provide the underpinnings for this discussion.

The second session began with introductory comments by the moderator, Ms. Anupam Sanghi.

Mr. John Davies delivered the Key Note Address by comparing the short term vis-a-vis long term concerns of competition authorities.

Mr. Mahesh Uppal, enumerated the issues that arise in the modern day when the information economy has come to the center stage of economic discourse.

Bringing in dissent into this discussion, Mr. Ashish Chandra, Corporate Counsel from Snap Deal India, went on to discuss the concept of disruptive innovation and analysed the perceived anti competitive nature of such innovation.

This thought provoking discussion was then followed by questions from the audience.

Dr. Gautam Sinha concluded the Session with a Vote of Thanks.

Technical Session III

Jurisprudence Development (Anti-Competitive Agreements): Issues & Implications

This Session would discuss various issues encountered during the enforcement of anti-competitive agreements both horizontal and vertical. Key issues which have come up for consideration before the Commission will be deliberated on, like the scope of investigations by Director General – CCI, procedural requirements (principles of natural justice), parameters of imposing penalty, per se and rule of reason approaches, price parallelism and plus factors, bid rigging cases and issues of corruption versus anti-competitive agreement between bidders, etc. Different perspectives on AOD/Uni-lateral conduct in different jurisdictions, and impact of CCI/COMPAT orders on markets, firms and competitiveness would also be discussed.

This session was moderated by Dr. Seema Gaur.

The Chair, Mr. Pradeep S. Mehta, was the Chair in this session and has commented in the session regarding various issues.

Mr. Marc Reysen delivered the Key Note Address. He majorly advocated for competition compliance.

Ms. Trine OsenBergqvist, spoke about Swedish Competition Authority.

The session’s last speaker was Mr. DevdasBaliga.

Technical Session IV

Jurisprudence Development (Abuse of Dominance): Issues & Implications

Over its six years of enforcement, Competition Laws of India has seen severe penalties imposed for violation of Abuse of Dominant position provisions under the Competition Act. It has raised several issues beginning from the definition of relevant market, requirement and emphasis on market shares for determining dominance, lock-in of customers and abuse, predatory pricing cases, determination of cost factor, dominance of trade associations, dominance of public sector units in some markets and competitive neutrality are some of the issues which require attention from the researchers, academia and professional. Impact of CCI/COMPAT orders on markets, firms and competitiveness would also be discussed.

The Session was moderated by Mr. Samir Gandhi, Partner at AZB.

Dr. Geeta Gouri made a power point presentation and set the tone for further discussions.

Mr Ramji Srinivasan made a point about understanding of Preamble of the Competition Act.

Mr. Nicholas J. Franczyk, Counsel for International Antitrust and Technical Assistance, Federal Trade Commission, US presented an elaborate empirical paper on the Jurisprudence Development in AOD Cases in India.

Mr. Ruchit Patel highlighted the requirements of evidence based on lessons from COMPAT orders.

The above presentations were followed by a lively discussion on the issues.

Valedictory Session

Institutional Development : Context, Issues, Way Forward

Developments in the Indian Market, including the regulation of competition in India, are taken note of by many stakeholders world-wide. Institutional issues, particularly those relating to CCI and COMPAT, have assumed importance in this context. Credibility, accountability and effectiveness of these institutions, and the direction they give to jurisprudence development, in line with the letter and spirit of the law, would determine the impact on competitiveness & economic growth, and success of competition regulation in India. Larger institutional architecture, judicial oversight, and other relevant issues would be discussed in this session, as also the global experience in this context.

The Chair, Mr. Anurag Goel talked about certain attributes which the institutions dealing with competition law and policy should possess for better efficiency. He emphasized the importance of accountability, independence, transparency, expertise, legitimacy and credibility, which he believed should be imbibed in the foundation of such institutions.

Prof. Kovacic talked about the attributes highlighted by Mr. Goel as to how for a successful regulator, they are very vital to have.

Mr. M.S. talked about CCI’s unique function as a regulatory body, with inquisitorial adjudication as against adversarial adjudication.

Mr. Rajat Kathuria argued that the only important goal that will help Indian institutions strengthen is implementation, which in turn will strengthen the capabilities of the institutions.

Mr Rajeev Kher delivered the Valedictory Address pointing out the huge technological leap; and the need for regulatory bodies to be more and more vigilant in regulating competition across the globe.

The Conference ended with a Vote of Thanks by Prof. Rajat Sharma.

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