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Competition policy benefits all: A.C.C.C.

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Australian Competition & Consumer Commission


Competition policy had broad benefits for all Australians. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, Told a Sydney Rotary lunch today.

Releasing the ACCC's submission to the Senate Committee on the Socio Economic Consequences of national Competition Policy, Professor Fels said the submission detailed the ACCC's role in the application of competition law.

The submission includes an extensive review of action, both legal and administrative, taken by the ACCC to assist it achieve its goals of enhancing consumer welfare through the promotion of competition and the provision for consumer protection.

Professor Fels said that the world agenda for competition policy was important both globally and for Australia as it affected Australia's capacity to trade with other countries and, in particular, to enter their markets without facing any competitive restrictions.

"Globalisation or the increasing independence in parts of the world economy has increased in recent times. There are three key propositions in the discussions, The first is that trade liberalisation can be frustrated by failures of competition policy. If a country lowers trade barriers, it creates the possibility of imports flowing in. This can be frustrated if, for example, retailers enter into restrictive agreements with domestic manufacturers not to sell imports. In these circumstances trade liberalisation needs to be accompanied by well functioning domestic competition policy is there is to be 'market access'. The second proposition is that trade policy is generally anti-competitive. Thirdly, regulation can damage trade and


Professor Fels said there had been several developments in this area including the OECD agreeing to cooperate in action against 'hard core' cartels; Australia and the United States moving to cooperate in investigating breaches of competition and anti-trust law; numerous third world countries studying competition policy; and the World Trade Organisation establishing a working group on the links between trade and competition policy.

"As to trade policy, this is a matter of ongoing WTO deliberations. However, there are some slim signs of a possible greater coherence and convergence between trade and competition policy.

Further information Professor Allan Fels, Chairman, ACCC, (016) 373 536 Ms Lin Enright, Director. Public Relations, (02) 6243 1108 or (0414) 613 520 MR 232/98

15 December 1998


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