‘Competition law enhances economic efficiency, creates level playing field’

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Competition policy is all about creating the best possible conditions for consumers, investors and innovative entrepreneurs while the main objective of the Competition Law is to enhance economic efficiency and create a level playing field, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Chairperson Vadiyya Khalil said on Monday.

Addressing a seminar at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KPCCI), the chairperson said that the enforcement of Competition Law was a must for economic growth in the country.

“It [Competition Act, 2010] is pro competition, pro consumer protection, pro growth and, therefore, it is pro business. The law protects you, the businesses, from any anti-competitive or deceptive behaviour of another entity/competitor,” she said. She said that enforcement and advocacy were two sides of the same coin. “Today we are here to advocate our law so that businesses know what is right from wrong and can self-regulate and comply with the law,” she added.

The seminar was held in connection with the “National Road Show on Competition Law” being organised by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in 22 cities throughout the country.

The seminar was attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Senior Vice President Ammad Khalid Rasheed, Vice President Shuja Muhammad, CCP Members Mueen Batlay, Shahzad Ansar and Ikram Ul Haque Qureshi, Cartels & Trade Abuses CCP DG Shaista Bano, CCP Director Advocacy Asfandyar Khattak, office bearers and members of ICCI and a large number of business people.

In his welcome address, Zulfiqar Ali Khan said that the enforcement of Competition Law was crucial for purging the economy of cartelisation, abuse of dominance and deceptive marketing practices as well as protecting consumers from anti-competitive behaviour. He welcomed the CCP initiative of holding a country-wide road show and said that it would create the much needed awareness and understanding of the law.

The chairperson thanked the business community for extending support to CCP by participating in the National Road Show on Competition Law and urged the need to work hard towards more efficient and prosperous Pakistan.

Member CCP Ikramul Haque Qureshi in his detailed presentation gave an overview of the competition regime in Pakistan and explained the substantive provisions of the Competition Act, 2010. He said that the anti-competitive practices such as the abuse of dominance and cartelisation not only harmed the consumers but also inflicted huge financial losses to the national exchequer.

Member CCP Shahzad Ansar in his presentation on the Office of Fair Trade (OFT), said that the Competition Act protects the consumer from deceptive marketing practices adding that the Competition Act forbids false and deceptive claims having no reasonable basis and the fraudulent use of the trademarks of other undertakings.

During the questions and answers session, the participants raised important issues concerning competition and their questions were answered by the commission’s members.