University College London explores India-Pakistan dialogue on competition law

The Centre for Law, Economics and Society at University College London (UCL) organised its first-ever South Asian Competition Law Conference this week to promote direct dialogue on the subject in the region, particularly between India and Pakistan.

The conference, held at the UCL campus on Tuesday, explored the theme of ‘Adoption, Implementation and Impact of the Indian and Pakistani Competition Laws’ with leading legal experts from the region deliberating the near-contemporaneous adoption of competition law in both countries.

“The developments in the competition regimes of India and Pakistan, whilst important for the two countries also have a considerable impact on the entire South Asian region,” UCL’s Centre for Law, Economics and Society said in a statement.

“As countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka begin to experiment with competition regimes, they are influenced as much by the competition experience of their geographical neighbours as they are by the multilateral aid agencies that often lead the law reform initiatives in the South Asian context, it notes.

Organised jointly by Professor Ioannis Lianos and Dr Amber Darr of UCL Laws, the conference brought together a wide range of speakers to stress the importance of direct dialogue regarding competition law in the region.

Former members of the Competition Commissions of India (CCI) and Pakistan (CCP), Dr Geeta Gouri and Dr Joseph Wilson respectively, stressed that competition laws must adapt to rapidly expanding digital markets, including companies like Facebook, in order to better address the challenges of the digital age.

Former CCI chairperson Dhanendra Kumar, who joined the conference via Skype link, focussed on the enforcement priorities of the CCI.

“Several speakers echoed the common call for the laws of both India and Pakistan to adapt to the new globalised world, demonstrating the ever-closer link between the countries,” said Dr Darr.

“All participants hailed the initiative and expressed the hope that the conference would become a regular feature of the UCL academic calendar,” she added.

The 2018 conference was organised with the aim of exploring the progress made by India and Pakistan in the first decade of the enforcement of their respective competition laws.

It evaluated factors that have aided and impeded Indian and Pakistani competition authorities in the implementation of competition laws; the extent to which the competition laws have been integrated with the legal context of their countries, and the impact of the competition laws on the economic transformation of their respective countries.

Competition law is a law that promotes market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies for the wider benefit of the consumers.