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Competition Advocacy Contest 2022

February 09-April 30, 2022



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Watch! Winners and honorable mentions at the ICN Annual Conference

Winners and honorable mentions were announced on May 5th during the ICN Annual Conference held in Berlin, Germany. The chair of the ICN Steering Group and representatives of the ICN Advocacy Working Group, World Bank Group and the selecting panel presented the awarded initiatives and welcomed to the stage officials from the awarded Competition Authorities, who also provided short interviews and shared their insights.


Preserving markets for sustained economic recovery: the role of competition advocacy after two years of COVID-19

The International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group are pleased to announce the launch of the 2022 Competition Advocacy Contest. This contest aims to highlight the key role competition agencies, sector regulators and other governmental bodies or non-governmental organizations play in promoting competition by showcasing their advocacy success stories.

  • The International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group (WBG) are pleased to share the results of the 2022 Competition Advocacy Contest. By showcasing success stories of effective competition advocacy, the contest aims to raise awareness of the key role played by competition agencies, government entities and non-governmental organizations in promoting competition and tackling the most pressing economic challenges facing countries today.

    Three winning stories and three stories worthy of honorable mention were selected among 28 entries submitted by both government authorities and non-governmental organizations from 19 jurisdictions around the world, along the following themes:

    • Theme 1 – Mitigating the risks of increased concentration and state participation in markets.
    • Theme 2 – Spreading the benefits of the digital economy.
    • Theme 3 – Engaging through results: successful experiences in planning, implementing, and monitoring advocacy strategies in times of crises.
    Panelists of the ICN-WBG 2022 Competition Advocacy Contest
    • Eleanor M. Fox, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation, New York University School of Law
    • Mariana Tavares de Araujo, Senior Partner, Levy & Salomão Advogados
    • Martha Martinez Licetti, Practice Manager, Markets & Technology Unit, World Bank Group
    • Mona Haddad, Global Director, Trade, Investment, and Competitiveness, World Bank Group
    • Theme 1 - Mitigating the risks of increased concentration and state participation in markets.

    The winner in this category successfully demonstrates how well-timed, targeted competition advocacy initiatives can effectively capture the attention of policymakers to inform broader policy dialogue and decision-making. In 2021, following the initial effects of and policy response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Spanish Commission of Markets and Competition launched an initiative to explain how and why the initial crisis response measures could in the long-term reduce competition and be harmful to economic recovery. By elaborating both international best practices as well as the underlying economic theory in a non-technical manner, and actively disseminating their messages to policymakers, the Commission sought to ensure policymakers internalized the key lessons and designed future policy accordingly.

    Spain – The National Commission of Markets and Competition, CNMC (Winner)

    The Commission delivered to policymakers a set of 30 specific recommendations in the areas of market regulation, public procurement, and state aid, to promote more effective and less distortive public intervention. The initiative highlighted the relevance of ex ante and ex post evaluation for the success of such interventions and how the CNMC could contribute in an advisory capacity. Key to its success was the ability to deliver concrete proposals in a timely manner, such that they could feed into government deliberations when formulating future response measures and public funding priorities in order to boost economic recovery after the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Theme 2 - Spreading the benefits of the digital economy

    The initiatives awarded in this category underscore the fundamental importance of strong institutional capacity and technical expertise for effective competition advocacy, market oversight and enforcement around the digital economy. Whether through inter-institutional collaboration with other agencies, as in the case in Singapore, or through the development of relevant skills and knowledge in-house, as in the case of Mexico, the ever-evolving nature of digital markets necessitates dedicated personnel and resources to deal with the novel competition challenges posed. In both cases, such efforts enhanced the ability of the competition authorities to engage in meaningful advocacy that struck a balance between promoting more secure digital markets while also safeguarding competition, and created greater certainty for market participants.

    Singapore – Competition and Consumer Commission (Winner)

    Since 2019, the competition and personal data protection authorities engaged in a series of collaborations to resolve tensions and reap synergies between the two policy areas. This included a jointly published discussion paper on data portability, cross-participation in each other’s international fora, a joint protocol for determining the lead agency for Intersecting matters, and a joint investigation into a case involving intersecting issues. Most importantly, the two agencies now jointly advocate a balanced policy that promotes secure data sharing practices, allowing companies to harness big data, while also facilitating competition and preventing data misuse.


    Mexico – The Federal Economic Competition Commission, COFECE (Honorable Mention)

    In early 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the Federal Economic Competition Commission launched a digital strategy to strengthen its capacity and analyze the challenges posed by the digital transformation. The strategy led to two concrete achievements: (i) the creation of a digital markets unit within the Commission, building deeper capacity and assigning greater human and financial resources to deal with the topic, and (ii) the settlement of an institutional dispute with the telecommunications regulator regarding which entity held the mandate on competition issues in the digital economy, providing clarity to public and private stakeholders and facilitating future inter-agency cooperation.


    Theme 3 - Engaging through results: successful experiences in planning, implementing, and monitoring advocacy strategies in times of crises.

    The authorities awarded in this category demonstrate the importance of deliberate, methodical, and strategic approaches to competition advocacy to maximize relevance and impact. Self-assessment, as in the case of Colombia, can help identify shortcomings or other weaknesses in past advocacy work, shape future efforts, and generate better results. Advocacy efforts that target particularly sensitive issues, such as the appropriate use of price controls in the case of Brazil, require multifaceted communications and dissemination strategies to ensure both government and public buy-in. Finally, promoting a culture of competition through widespread advocacy campaigns and training initiatives can be especially effective when competition challenges potentially compromise the public budgets, as was the case in Egypt with public procurement.

    Colombia – Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio, SIC (Winner)

    This story highlights the value of empirical evidence to improve advocacy. SIC carried out an ex-post assessment of the effectiveness of its advocacy efforts between 2018 and 2021. With this, SIC was able to identify the extent to which other government agencies followed or diverged from its non-binding opinions and used this insight to better target its efforts going forward. SIC set up a new advocacy strategy which includes regular market assessments, increased stakeholder engagement, and reliance on a new Artificial Intelligence powered Tool, “Inspector”, that detects and diagnoses draft regulations potentially distortive of competition. As a result of its efforts, SIC increased the number of advocacy opinions issued on a monthly basis by 34%; in 70% of cases, SIC’s recommendations were accepted and led to legislative improvements.


    Brazil – Administrative Council for Economic Defense, CADE (Honorable Mention)

    CADE’s advocacy initiative aimed to minimize the use of price controls in response to high prices and product shortages during the COVID-19 crisis. The agency created a dedicated competition advocacy unit to monitor emergency legislation at the federal, state, and local levels and deliver timely opinions regarding the potential risks to competition. CADE not only submitted these technical opinions to the government agencies preparing the legislation but also published them online and disseminated them with the press. CADE officials also participated in public meetings with lawmakers and civil society to debate the proposed measures and their impacts. In so doing, CADE fostered public discussion and promoted the role of competition in supporting individuals and businesses in their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Egypt – The Egyptian Competition Authority, ECA (Honorable Mention)

    This story deals with effective public procurement in times of crisis. As the Egyptian government’s spending increased by approximately 30 percent during the COVID-19 crisis, this increased the potential aggregate impact of bid-rigging in public procurement—which has been shown to result in up to 50 percent overcharges. ECA launched a three-part advocacy initiative to promote greater competition in procurement: a wide awareness campaign (“No To Bid-Rigging") which trained over 800 government officials on how to detect collusion; greater cooperation with the Public Procurement Agency and the issuance of guidelines on competitive neutrality during procurement, especially for the protection of SMEs; and increased oversight and enforcement. Following these efforts, ECA witnessed an increase in the number of complaints by 20% regarding collusion in various markets.

  • As defined by the ICN, competition advocacy refers to activities that promote a competitive environment through non-enforcement mechanisms, such as building relationships with government entities, increasing public awareness of competition’s benefits and identifying and removing anticompetitive policies and regulations.

    We are looking for success stories from competition agencies, other public bodies or civil society that demonstrate the tangible results of competition advocacy regarding:

    Theme 1. Mitigating the risks of increased concentration and state participation in markets. Although two years have passed since the beginning of the Covid19 crisis, economies are still struggling.  Several response measures designed to weather short-term impacts of the pandemic are now posing longer term challenges. At the macro level, rising inflation, public debt, and unemployment have become a common challenge. At the sector level, several industries experienced changes that are likely to affect market dynamics in the longer-term, such as surges in market concentration and increasing relevance of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and state aid. Finally, bottlenecks in labor markets and supply chains further constraint regular market dynamics. Going forward, competition policy has a pivotal role to play not only by deterring anticompetitive behavior, but also by pushing for pro-market government interventions that enable competitive pressure in the long-term. Competition authorities and other advocates are encouraged to share their experiences promoting competitive neutrality and preventing interventions that facilitate anticompetitive outcomes involving, for example, industrial policies and sector regulation, public procurement and bid-rigging, international trade, labor, state support measures, and SOEs.

    Theme 2. Spreading the benefits of the digital economy. The digital economy has filled mobility gaps, mended value chains, increased product and service accessibility, and reinvented how the economy works in numerous sectors, from retail banking to e-commerce. However, positive impacts have been accompanied by significant market consolidation, risks of abuse of market power, and concerns regarding privacy and consumer rights. Competition policy can play an important role in understanding changes in the digital economy after the Covid19 pandemic and proposing recommendations to policymakers to balance competition-related risks and benefits with a view to promote a faster and inclusive recovery. Competition authorities and other advocates are encouraged to share their initiatives related to, among others, regulation of digital markets, the role of digital platforms in market dynamics, data as key variable for competition, implication of new technologies for competition (e.g., blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence), sector specific challenges such as in financial markets and e-commerce, and development of enabling infrastructures as economies navigate their way out the Covid19 crises.

    Theme 3. Engaging through results: successful experiences in planning, implementing, and monitoring advocacy strategies in times of crises. The procedures set by competition agencies to develop and monitor advocacy strategies play an important role in determining their success. Competition advocates are welcome to share successful examples of planning, implementing, and monitoring of advocacy strategies, focusing on the formal or informal steps to set priorities (e.g., analysis of the environment, definition of the advocacy objectives, assessment of the feasibility of the initiatives) and to measure the results of the advocacy interventions. Competition authorities and other advocates are also welcomed to share their experience in collaborating with neighboring authorities to discover restraints that have a cross-border dimension, before taking enforcement action.

  • Competition agencies, sector regulators and other government bodies and non-governmental organizations promoting competition policy are welcome to apply.

    If you are not a member of the ICN, you should reach out to the ICN member in your jurisdiction to inform about your intention to participate in the contest. A list of all ICN members is available here. Joint submissions from ICN members and government bodies or non-governmental organizations are encouraged.

    In order to participate, candidates must complete the online survey. Key information required to apply includes:

    The information below will be used for blind review. While answering, don’t identify your institution or jurisdiction. Please use generic words like "legislation", "agency", "region" or "country" to avoid identification.


    A summary of the advocacy initiative (150 words). Please include information covering (i) socioeconomic relevance of the intervention, (ii) the issue tackled by the initiative, (iii) the solution proposed/implemented and/or (iv) impact when available.


    The competition issue under assessment. (150 words)


    The strategy used to address the issue. It can include, for instance, communication strategy, stakeholders involved, resources allocated, evidence building. (150 words)


    The main messages and recommendations conveyed by the advocacy activity. (150 words)


    The results of the initiative. For example: (i) recommendations were implemented by public bodies, (ii) opinions were published or disseminated, (iii) other immediate changes generated by the initiative. (150 words)


    Information whether the initiative (i) is inspired by initiatives of other jurisdictions, (ii) is inspired by other initiatives in your jurisdiction, or (iii) inspired other initiatives locally or abroad. Please provide brief information on other initiatives if applicable.


    Effective or expected socioeconomic impacts. For instance, level of consumer savings, investment, value added, entry of new firms, others. (150 words)


    Lessons learned with the initiative. (150 words)

    Stories submitted to previous editions of the contest that were not awarded are eligible for resubmission.

    The online survey is the only valid application method. Applications through email messages or that fail to provide the required information in compliance with indicated character limits and blind review standards will not be considered.

    Please contact Guilherme de Aguiar Falco with any questions at

    The deadline for submissions is March 5th, 2022 (11h59 pm, Washington D.C. time).


  • Submissions will undergo a rigorous assessment of the following criteria:

    • Relevance of the competition issue tackled by the initiative;
    • Success of the advocacy activity - results achieved;
    • Impact and effects on markets, spillover effects and lessons learned;
    • Advocacy strategy - creativity and originality, cooperation mechanisms deployed.

    An independent panel will review the submissions and select the top stories. Winning applicants will be invited to present their stories at a joint ICN-World Bank Group event.

    Winners and honorable mentions will be announced by April 30th, 2022.