EU envoy urges Pakistan to enforce competition laws
The EU ambassador in Pakistan, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, speaking at an international conference on the ‘Role of Competition in fostering trade and investment’ suggested that the new government should enhance trade and business with India and implement competition laws to improve economic conditions in the country. Mr. Wigemark said he hoped the government would be inspired by the recent elections and create a truly level economic playing field for business in Pakistan, and also that it needs to enforce the existing competition laws in the country.
Mr. Wigemark urged that improved competition will be a win-win governance issue, which will benefit Pakistan and all its consumers. He said Pakistan has a strong political mandate which should be used to get rid of cartels, pricefixing, distorting subsidies and kick-backs as these are hindering both domestic economic growth and the inflow of foreign investment and trade.
Mr. Wigemark said that competition will also attract investment in innovative technologies and foster growth and development, He added that while EU is Pakistan’s largest trading partner, at 8.2 billion euros, but the country’s largest trading partners should be its neighbors, in particular India. In fact he said, to realise the potential for trade and investment in the region, a strong competition system is essential.
The conference was attended by experts from India, Canada, USA, Europe and other regions.
Chairperson CCP Rahat Konain, welcomed the participants and said their presence in the country showed their confidence and the efforts of CCP. She said that competition in economy was essential to improve efficiencies and fairplay.
Among the cases taken up by the CCP against business giants include establishment of International Clearing House (ICH) in the Telecom Industry, which has been held in violation of the Competition Act. The various topics discussed at the conference included Detecting Cartels, promoting advocacy, nexus with the competition regime and ‘Public Procurement’.
Dr Gabriele Herlemann, a Judge at the public procurement tribunal, German Competition Authority, also addressed the event. He said that in Germany, three important points of public procurement were transparency, non-discrimination and competition, as the key principles for the award procedure.
Meanwhile, speakers from Pakistan highlighted various forms of bidding in the public procurement procedures. They demanded that the government should revamp the entire procedure to ensure transparency in public procurements. Some of the speakers even criticized the courts for accepting all the appeals filed by the accused, following which the cases continue to linger for years without any outcome.