Ebrahim Patel calls for the continuous sharpening of the country’s competition policy
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Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel on Thursday reiterated the importance of continuous sharpening of South Africa’s competition policy to respond to changing economic dynamics.
Patel said that as a result, the country’s competition policy was under constant review as the markets were rapidly changing, with new industries created and new entrants to the market.
In May, the department published a competition policy statement spelling out how competition should enable job creation and industrialisation in response for greater clarity by business.
Patel said the competition policy statement makes the point that South Africa’s competition regime blends traditional competition concerns with developmental outcomes procreated to the national context.
“Our policy aims to address high levels of economic concentration and to provide effective competition that supports industrialisation, that builds dynamic firms, that protects and creates jobs, and promotes economic inclusion and transformation,” Patel said.
“Our competition policy provides a range of tools to increase competitive dynamism, including through the regulation of mergers and acquisitions, new levels to tackle high levels of concentration, measures to investigate abusive behaviour by dominant firms, provisions to assist with opening markets, and specific measures to advance the public interests.
“But competition policy, of course, cannot carry the full weight of all our economic challenges and has to complement other tools, industrial policy, trade policy. Finding the right balance of what one policy can achieve is very important.”
Patel was speaking at the 15th Annual Competition Law, Economics and Policy Conference under the theme “Economic Recovery and Reconstruction – The Role of Competition Policy.”
The conference is the annual event jointly held by the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal of South Africa.
In addressing economic recovery and reconstruction, speakers elevated the urgent need to build capable, developmental, and ethical institutions that are critical in the achievement of a growing and inclusive economy in South Africa.
The conference also addressed extensively lessons learnt from the pandemic for future competition regulation.
The Competition Commission also launched a Multidisciplinary Research Grant Programme (MRGP) aimed at promoting multidisciplinary research at South African tertiary institutions that can inform and enhance competition law enforcement in the country.
The launch officially opened an invitation for high quality and substantive multidisciplinary research proposals relevant to competition law enforcement that may contribute to informing and improving enforcement in South Africa.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE