ISLAMABAD, 6 MARCH 2013: A team of the Competition Commission of Pakistan, headed by its Chairperson, Ms. Rahat Kaunain Hassan, and comprising its Members, conducted an advocacy session at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI).

The advocacy session was also attended by Members of CCP Mr. Abdul Ghaffar, Dr. Joseph Wilson and Dr. Shahzad Ansar, Registrar of the Commission Mr. Ikram ul Haque Qureshi, President RCCI Mr. Manzar Khurshid Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ch. Pervaiz Ahmed Warriach, members of the Executive Committee and general body in large number.

Addressing the session, CCP Chairperson explained to the participants of the meeting the four pillars of Competition Act, 2010, i.e. Section 3 (Abuse of Dominant Position), Section 4 (Prohibited Agreements), Section 10 (Deceptive Marketing Practices), and Section 11 (Approval of Mergers), besides highlighting the key enforcement actions, and other recently handled matters.

She said that over the last five years, the Commission has demonstrated independence and autonomy through its decisions.  “We have issued orders that speak for our independence and autonomy, however, at the same time we have exercised self-restraint, which is essential for a law enforcement agency,” the Chairperson maintained. She informed the participants that as a result of effective enforcement, CCP got ‘Fair’ rating and our performance has been termed ‘impressively consistent’ in an independent third-party evaluation conducted by the Global Competition Review (GCR), a UK based entity, and was also shortlisted by GCR for the Enforcement Award in the category ‘Agency of the Year among top five out of 42 agencies in the region of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa’ for 2012.

The Chairperson said that CCP has imposed over PKR 8.5 billion on various undertakings for violation of competition law, however, under the Competition Act, the penalties to be recovered are deposited in the Federal Consolidated Fund. She said that by imposing fines, CCP aims at promoting compliance through deterrence while creating a culture of competition.

In response to a question of one of the participants as to whether CCP can stop the violation of law by pre-empting the violation and nabbing the potential culprit, the Chairperson said that CCP is essentially a law enforcement agency, which takes action ‘ex-post’ and not ‘ex ante’ like regulatory bodies. However, she informed that CCP under its program of sectoral research, titled, Competition Impact Assessment Studies, is conducting research studies on key sectors of the economy to assess the state of competition in these sectors, which can be of assistance in effective enforcement.

The Chairperson asked the business community to come forward and assist CCP in creating an environment based on healthy competition and fair trade practices. She said that CCP is accessible to all and complaint filing procedure is very simple and most of the information relating to actions and procedures is available on the website of the Commission. She added that there is no fee of filing a complaint if a complaint comes through the forum of consumers associations.

To another question relating to compensation to affectees of ani-competitive activities, the Chairperson said that in sync with other competition regimes, the Competition Act envisages that parties may claim such compensation before the competent court based on CCP’s decision.

Addressing the seminar, President RCCI Mr. Manzar Khurshid Sheikh, appreciated the performance of CCP and the forthcoming attitude of its management. He assured the support from business community in creating a level playing field for all.