Edited by Ariel Ezrachi
The International Competition Network (‘ICN’) defines competition advocacy as ‘those activities conducted by the competition authority related to the promotion of a competitive environment for economic activities by means of non-enforcement mechanisms, mainly through its relationships with other governmental entities and by increasing public awareness of the benefits of competition’. The approach that competition authorities generally take to the task of competition advocacy focuses on general advocacy and advice to governments. These actions tend to include suggestions about whom the agency sends submissions to and the nature of those submissions, without much analysis of the underlying problem that is being addressed. Most discussions of competition advocacy generally take this ‘traditional’ advocacy path and discussions usually begin by asking what a competition agency should do by way of general advocacy and advice to governments. However, such discussions about competition advocacy can come to an early end as their role often tends to be seen as quite limited and they do not deeply probe the fundamental issues concerning anticompetitive laws. In contrast, another approach to competition advocacy begins with an identification and substantive analysis of the policy problems of concern – that is, the existence of harmful anticompetitive laws – and the canvassing of possible policy solutions. Such an approach is manifested through a proper definition of the problem; the involvement of a nation’s political leaders and preferably an electoral mandate; a ‘whole of government’ approach; machinery for implementation; consultation with interest groups; probable financial compensation; and/or transition arrangements and community education.
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