Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Effects of Anti-competitive Business Practices on Developing Countries and their Development Prospects

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

UNCTAD has release an almost 700 page book available for download titled The Effects of Anti-competitive Business Practices on Developing Countries and their Development Prospects.

BOOK HIGHLIGHTS: During the last decade, many developing countries have adopted or are in the process of enacting competition laws. There is growing awareness among developing countries of the adverse effects of anti-competitive practices on their economies as well as their populations. The effects of such practices are not easily quantifiable and may therefore not be obvious. Nevertheless, developing countries have come to recognize the potential benefits that can be derived from competition law enforcement. The drive to establish legal and institutional frameworks in order to fight anti-competitive practices has intensified in recent decades.

In over three decades working with many developing countries across the globe, UNCTAD has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in making competition law and policy work for development. The Accra Accord (paragraph 104) recognizes that "UNCTAD is the focal point for the work on competition policy and related consumer welfare within the United Nations system. It provides to its Member States a forum for intergovernmental policy dialogue and consensus building in the area of competition laws and policies. … a forum to discuss competition issues on the multilateral level, … . UNCTAD´s work in this area should promote competition law regimes that take into account the prevailing conditions in the developing countries." Within this framework, the current publication brings together studies by practitioners and academics focussed on identifying the effects of anticompetitive practices on developing countries and their development prospects.

The various sections of this publication cover a wide range of cross-cutting competition issues. The publication highlights the synergies between competition and consumer laws and policies. It emphasizes the role of competition law and policy as a complementary policy tool in poverty alleviation. It also draws attention to competition concerns in commodity markets, which are of crucial importance to developing and least developed countries. Moreover, it provides lessons from a broad range of experiences from developed as well as developing countries, including economies in transition. The contributionof competition enforcement can often be indistinguishable from that of other economic policies in increasing efficiency and competition. Nonetheless, this publication upholds the view that competition law and policy are supportive of the overall process of economic development by curbing anti-competitive practices that negatively impact consumers and increase costs to business.

It is my hope that this publication, which is being launched at the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy in Geneva, in July 2008, will contribute to the enhanced understanding among government officials, private-sector stakeholders, consumer organizations and civil society of the necessity of competition law and policy and raise awareness on the damage caused by anti-competitive practices on the economies of developing countries.

I would like to reiterate that UNCTAD will continue to support developing countries in their efforts in adopting competition and consumer laws and establishing and strengthening the capacities of their competition authorities through technical assistance and capacitybuilding programmes.

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