FTC Workshop Addresses Competition Law And Policy

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Several representatives from the local business community gathered at the Accra Beach Hotel today for the Fair Trading Commission’s (FTC) Training Workshop on Competition Law and Policy.

In her opening remarks, the Chief Executive Office (CEO) of the FTC, Peggy Griffith, told participants that she believed they "will benefit tremendously [from the workshop]", and expressed gratitude to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States for its continued support in providing one of its experienced representatives to lead the discussions.?? This year’s chief presenter is Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Pete Levitas.

Ms. Griffith noted that: "Having an external presenter on the course is essential.?? It allows all of us to obtain a different perspective on the issues and to compare business activities and enforcement practices across jurisdictions, especially with an authority that is extremely experienced in the area of competition law and policy."

She also remarked that the general public continued to display a greater level of understanding of the Commission’s work and of relevant legislation, and promised that the agency would continue to promote fair competition in Barbados.

"We are reviewing our investigative procedures to create greater certainty in your minds and in the minds of the public, and in the efficiency and effectiveness of our investigations. In this respect, the Commission is set to revisit the competition’s legislation, following a review conducted in the past year.????

"This should present an opportunity to implement the necessary provisions to address some of the very important concerns that we have identified," she said.??

Ms. Griffith added that the agency had made significant strides over the years, and had improved the quality of market data collected, as well as the time necessary for investigations to be completed.?? She noted that the FTC would also continue to address issues of import which recurred in the local market.

One such area, which the CEO highlighted, was the abuse of dominance.??She observed that: "…we have, and continue to find, the majority of infringements of the Competition Act to be abuses of dominance.?? We have had cases of discriminatory pricing, exclusive dealings and refusals to supply…

"These abuses have arisen in the major economic sectors, which are a reflection of the concentrated types of markets existing here in Barbados.?? We have completed major investigations into the construction, telecommunications, automotive, food distribution and oil manufacturing industries," she revealed.

Throughout the workshop, Mr. Levitas is expected to address these and other relevant themes, such as predatory pricing, price fixing and mergers. The Deputy Director of the FTC has had a career that included various roles relevant to competition law – he was a Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights Subcommittee, and also served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

The two-day workshop is delivered to offer participants a general overview of competition law and policy, with emphasis on the goals and benefits of effective competition.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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