Competition is a process of economic rivalry between market players to attract customers. These market players can be multinational or domestic companies, wholesalers, retailers, or even the neighbourhood shopkeepers. In their pursuit to outdo rival enterprises, market players either adopt fair means (producing quality goods, being cost efficient, adopting appropriate technologies, etc.) or indulge in unfair measures (carrying out restrictive business practices – such as predatory pricing, exclusive dealing, tied selling, collusion, cartelisation, abuse of dominant position, etc.).
In the interest of consumers, and the economy as such it is necessary to promote an environment that would facilitate competitive outcomes in the market, and curb anticompetitive behaviour by the players. In other words, it is essential to evolve a ‘level playing field’ by putting in place appropriate policies and legislations to ensure competition in the marketplace, for the benefit of the economy and consumers.
More and more countries are waking up to the reality that a competition law is not a luxury but a necessity in the current context of liberalisation and privatisation of the economies happening throughout the world, especially in the developing world. It is, therefore, no surprise that more and more countries are embracing competition laws, while many are adopting new laws after scrapping old ones.
In the beginning of 1990, there were about 30 countries with a competition law, while presently the number has raced to exceed 100, with quite a few in the process of adopting a competition legislation very soon.
This report is a attempt to map out competition regimes around the world and covers 119 countries. Most of the countries covered in this volume have a competition legislation, while some are in the process of adopting one. The report also carries a brief description of the regulatory regime and the consumer protection framework of each country. Each of the chapters are illustrated with box stories on competition cases, which offer a good insight.
In the overall, the country papers in the compilation provide a glimpse of the competition scenario in the selected countries in a simple language, and exhibit information under the following broad categories:
- Basic introduction and country profile
- Economic background
- Genesis and environment of competition regime
- Competition law and institutions
- Examples of anticompetitive business practices
- Sectoral regulatory regime
- Consumer protection framework
- Future scenario
This report contains essays on the countries by a large number of activists, scholars, experts and practitioners, whose names appear as authors in the corresponding chapters.
It serves as a ready reference for readers to understand where a country stands vis-à-vis other countries in the development of competition regimes – something of utmost importance to all groups of stakeholders, including policy-makers, academia, civil society and the business community.