The Promise in Competition Policy in Developing Countries

University of Waterloo - This event discusses questions such as How do developing countries cope with the “Wal-Mart” effect where tiny stores are pushed aside by multinational oligopolies?

Trade and Competition policy in Developing Countries

Competition is a key pillar for markets. It drives innovation, efficiency and productivity as firms compete against one another for customers. The spread of economic liberalization has added urgency to the need for a fair framework for market exchanges. How do developing countries cope with the “Wal-Mart” effect where tiny stores are pushed aside by multinational oligopolies? How do poor countries once dominated by state-run monopolies handle globalization, trade liberalization, cartels and consumer welfare?
Many developing countries are enacting laws similar to those in Canada or the US and creating institutions to prevent foreign and domestic firms from engaging in anti-competitive practices. When these measures are successful, the economy grows and consumers benefit through better offerings, cheaper prices, and through innovations in services, production and distribution. Yet how, exactly, can governments in countries as diverse as Brazil, China, South Africa, Costa Rica and Peru, tailor the law to meet the needs of their economy? What challenges do they face when legislating and implementing competition policy? How and why should they involve stakeholders (including media and NGOs) in the implementation process? How can they deal with cross-border anti-competition conduct? The speakers will address these in the context of competition policies (a) with elements that would be the most useful for developing economies and (b) with the best chance of implementation.

Panel Moderator

Andres Rius. Andrés Rius is Team Leader of the Globalization, Growth and Poverty PI. He is based at IDRC’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (Montevideo). He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of Notre Dame. His interests include political-economic analysis of economic policies, processes of institutional reform in less developed countries, macroeconomic policy, and public sector economics. He has published on those subjects and taught at the Universidad de la República (Uruguay) and the Universidad Católica del Uruguay.

Panel Members

Edgard Rodriguez. Edgard is with Canada’s International Development Research Centre. He has published research on market dynamics and on productivity in Canada and in developing countries.

Phil Evans. Phil has authored six books on competition policy and trade as well as policy-oriented reports for UNCTAD and the Economist. For ten years he served as Principal Policy Adviser at the UK Consumers Association. He has taught at Bristol University, the London School of Economics, the University of North Carolina, and has been highly active in advising international NGOs on policy and competition. Phil Evans is the co-author, with Susan Joekes, of the recently published IDRC book Competition and Development: the Power of Competitive Markets. The book examines a broad range of research on the importance of fair competition for an effective marketplace. It provides an introduction to competition and competition law in developing countries by focusing on the practical problems and the policies and practices that governments and citizens have taken to overcome those problems. Free copies of the book will be available at this session.

Lilla Csorgo is currently the Special Economic Advisor to the Canadian Commissioner of Competition. Dr. Csorgo has held positions with and has lectured on economics and on transition economies at the University of Toronto and Gödöllt University in Hungary. With experience in the private and public sectors Lilla is an expert on mergers, intellectual property, and regulated markets and has served as Vice Chair of the Economics and Law Committee of the Canadian Bar Association Competition Law Section. She has made important contributions providing technical assistance to foreign governments on competition law and policy.

Robert Kerton. University of Waterloo. Bob was one of the public interest participants who helped bring Canada’s Competition Act into play. Author of Double Standards: Consumer and Worker Protection in an Unequal World, Bob has published work is on competition policy, product quality and trade. He was elected President of the American Council on Consumer Interests and has been a researcher at Consumers International in Malaysia, India, and elsewhere.

Taimoon Stewart. Taimoon served as Research Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. An accomplished speaker, Taimoon has published several books, Including Globalisation, Competition Policy and International Trade Negotiations. Recent articles on development include work done for the World Bank and research on the challenges faced when implementing a competition regime in small open economies.

From 06 Jun 2008
Until 06 Jun 2008
University of Waterloo
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