ACCC Chair Rod Sims virtually attended the G7 Digital Competition Enforcers Summit hosted by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as one of four guest competition authority representatives alongside those of India, South Africa and South Korea.
The summit, to discuss competition in digital markets, was held in London, and attended by representatives of competition agencies from the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States), as well as the guest nations and the European Commission.
“While offering many benefits to consumers, the digital platforms also present a range of challenges in terms of competition and consumer protection. Agencies around the world have identified significant harm to consumers and small businesses arising from the continuing growth and entrenched position of the large digital platforms,” Mr Sims said.
The agencies consider the challenges posed by digital markets and big tech to be among the most important issues facing governments and competition authorities around the world.
The G7 Enforcers Summit takes place at a critical time given the growth and impact of the large digital platforms on our economies.
“It is important that Australia collaborates with the agencies that are also at the forefront of considering these complex issues. We, like all other agencies, are considering whether we have the right tools to deal with these challenges, so that we can make timely and effective decisions to protect consumers and deliver the benefits of competition to our economy,” Mr Sims said.
Last night, Mr Sims chaired a roundtable discussion among agency heads on the need for reform to address the competition concerns identified in digital platform markets.
“The roundtable allowed like-minded agencies to discuss whether there is a need for regulatory reforms to deal with competition issues caused by the growth of the large digital platforms and to learn from the experiences of those who have already embarked on this path,” Mr Sims said.
This issue is important for the ACCC’s consideration of whether to recommend a sector specific approach in the ACCC’s fifth Digital Platform Services Inquiry report, and if so, what changes these could include.
The summit provided an opportunity for international agencies to discuss common areas of interest and opportunities for potential collaboration on issues such as adtech, app stores and mobile ecosystems, cloud computing and algorithms, and for attendees to reflect on how best to use their skills, knowledge, and resources to deal with challenges in digital markets.
The ACCC is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the summit as a guest country of the G7 and share its experiences in dealing with issues in digital platform markets.
“We welcome efforts to further enhance international cooperation on these issues which have direct relevance to the investigative, compliance and policy work undertaken as a priority by the ACCC,” Mr Sims said.
Further information on key challenges and findings is available in the CMA’s compendium of approaches to improving competition in digital markets.
It addresses the work of each participating competition authority in relation to:
- opening investigations and studies, or bringing enforcement actions;
- developing specialist teams staffed with technical experts;
- considering or introducing legislative reforms to bolster enforcement tools or introducing new regulatory regimes;
- and ensuring regulatory cooperation domestically and internationally.