Competition authorities around the world are handling a surge in more complex, global mergers, demonstrating the need for continued strong collaboration between agencies across different jurisdictions, ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb has told an international audience.
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.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims has been confirmed by the steering group of the International Competition Network (ICN) as the new Vice Chair Digital Co-ordination and Asia-Pacific Liaison.
Mr Sims’ role was confirmed at an ICN meeting on Wednesday night.
He will focus on co-ordinating ICN projects and discussions about competition in the digital economy and will also act as a liaison between the ICN Steering Group and ICN members in the Asia-Pacific region.
New rules and regulations may be needed in addition to enforcement action by competition regulators worldwide to rectify concerns about the dominance of Apple and Google in app marketplaces, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said today.
The ACCC, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt have today issued a joint statement highlighting the importance of rigorous and effective merger enforcement.
The statement was launched at a virtual event today by the heads of each of the agencies.
“Competition can only be maintained by ensuring anticompetitive mergers do not happen. This is even more so in a fast-developing digital world impacted by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic,” the statement reads.
The ACCC has received an award from the International Competition Network and World Bank Group for its work to improve competition in the Australian dairy industry, which involved an inquiry into competition in the sector, and subsequent recommendation of a mandatory code. The dairy inquiry was completed in April 2018.
The annual contest recognises the role that competition agencies and government departments play in promoting competition and its benefits through activities other than enforcement action.
Competition agencies from five countries including Australia will share intelligence, case theories and investigative techniques to better coordinate investigations across international borders, thanks to a new cooperation agreement signed this week.
Competition authorities around the world must work together to meet significant and evolving challenges in global markets, and consider whether traditional approaches to assessing mergers remained fit for purpose, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said tonight.
Mr Sims, speaking at a gala dinner in Melbourne for the International Competition Network’s merger workshop, said the meteoric expansion of large digital platforms, much driven by acquisitions, was one of many challenges confronting global competition authorities.