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Competition Advocacy Contest 2023

May 22-June 26, 2023

Competition Advocacy Contest 2023 logo

The International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group are pleased to announce the launch of the 2023 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.

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 under four themes:

Theme 1 – Embedding competition principles in public policies, especially when responding to crises
Public policies designed without considering competition principles can hinder market dynamics. From just-in-time responses to healthcare or cost-of-living crises, to revamped industrial policies, privatization/nationalization processes or state aid schemes, public policies should strive to achieve their intended outcomes, whilst fostering open markets and a level playing field. For instance, extensive government support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, US$4.6 trillion by 2020 as per IMF estimations, amplified the risks around market power and competition, especially as supports tended to go to large, formal firms, SOEs, and generally more tech-enabled firms. Similarly, in June 2022, 34 countries imposed restrictions on exports on food and fertilizers in response to price shock in agricultural commodities and fertilizers (World Bank). When protecting competition may not be on the top of the policy agenda, competition advocacy becomes even more important.

Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include impactful initiatives to enhance policy design through competition principles.

Theme 2 – Advocating for competition across borders to meet global challenges
Countries and competition authorities face common challenges when addressing restrictions to competition, regardless of their regulatory frameworks or economic development, especially in the context of markets that are no longer bound by national borders. International cooperation initiatives to promote competition are key for facing regional and global challenges. Digital markets, relatively unconstrained by borders, are estimated to contribute more than 15% of global GDP.  Supranational competition authorities cover more than 100 countries and anticompetitive practices are increasingly multijurisdictional, with the WBG database on cartels having identified 56 international cartels sanctioned only in the past 5 years. Multijurisdictional cooperation mechanisms, whether bilateral and multilateral, can be used to achieve results that build on joint strengths and peer experience.

Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include international cooperation initiatives to embed competition in domestic and global markets (e.g., supranational mechanisms to promote competition, joint bilateral or multilateral competition projects with tangible results or initiatives to support pro-competition results in foreign markets).

Theme 3 – Reinforcing market institutions to deliver better market outcomes
Strong market institutions, e.g. competition authorities, sector regulators, independent agencies and other public bodies that can shape market outcomes, are critical for promoting private sector development and driving economic growth. Reinforcing the resources and mandates of market institutions to embed competition principles in regulations, promote the synergies between competition and other policies such as consumer protection or data protection, and foster interinstitutional cooperation, especially when dealing with overlapping mandates, is key given that competition concerns often span across different sectors and institutional mandates. For instance, in digital markets and e-commerce antitrust, data protection and consumer protection often overlap with almost 70% of enforcement cases on media/communications raising data protection issues as per the WBG Global Digital Antitrust Database. Therefore, one well-supported response to the intersection of privacy and competition law has been to create new models of interagency coordination, as per the 2021 ICN Intersection Project Report.

Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include inter-institutional mechanisms (MoUs, joint procedures, formal/informal networks) to tackle competition challenges; strategies to reinforce the role of competition authorities, regulators and other market institutions to promote competition and connect it to other policies; regulatory sandboxes bringing together different institutions and regulatory frameworks to promote competition in new markets.  

Theme 4 – Supporting the climate change agenda through competition policy
Governments and competition authorities are increasingly committed to leveraging competition policy as a tool to support climate action and promote sustainability more effectively. Often climate policy and competition policy coincide or reinforce each other as per the 2021 ICN Sustainable Development and Competition Law Report. In a WBG tracker of 2,500 industry support responses following the COVID-19 crisis, 891 were “green” policy measures, with most measures aim to increase Renewable Energy (15%), improve Energy Efficiency (14%), foster Innovation and R&D (7%), and promote Circular Economy (3%). By promoting competition in essential markets for climate action (e.g., renewable energy, batteries, climate resilient seeds), governments and competition authorities can encourage companies to invest in sustainable solutions and which can ultimately help to reduce environmental damage and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Competition advocacy can take various forms, from identifying and removing regulatory barriers to entry in green markets, to developing guidelines to limit competition distortions of green transition measures or embed competition principles in green industrial policies.