At the APEC Economic Committee's seminar on structural reform today, APEC members acknowledged the importance of competition in enhancing productivity and investment levels around the region. High on policy agendas around the world, competition policy is an important element for economic growth and promotes competitive prices, better quality and greater choice.
A webcast of APEC Economic Committee Chair Bob Buckle's opening remarks to participants at the Seminar on Role of Competition Policy in Structural Reform is available for download.
Mr. Buckle said that competition provides a stimulus for businesses to improve their performance and to reduce their prices, thus encouraging the development of new or improved products, processes and services in markets.
"There is a growing awareness that good structural policies - including good competition policies - are important for furthering regional economic integration and promoting sustained economic growth in the APEC region," Mr. Buckle said.
"Competition policy is concerned with all facets of government policy which influences the competitive behavior and competitive environment of firms, individuals and government agencies engaged in the supply of traded goods and services in the economy.
"Effective competition is important because it promotes dynamic and responsive markets so that economies benefit from competitive prices, better quality and greater choice. We'll be able to see a larger number of improved products, processes and services," explained Mr. Buckle.
"In recent years, some economies have been growing significantly better with faster growth and lower unemployment which have been influenced by increased competition in labor, product and financial markets," said Mr. Bernard Phillips, Head of the OECD Competition Committee.
APEC member economies shared insights at the seminar today on the important elements for an effective competition regime, which are the independence, transparency and accountability of competition authorities.
"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is subject to external scrutiny by the courts, and tribunals. This plays an important role in monitoring the ACCC's conduct and accountability," said Mr. Brian Cassidy, the Commission's CEO, when he provided an example during his presentation.
In addition, developing APEC economies spoke about how they overcame the challenges they faced when setting out to establish domestic competition policy.
"We had a lack of expertise in competition issues and limited resources. International assistance from APEC economies and a focus on capacity-building greatly assisted in our efforts to meet these challenges," shared Mr. Tran Anh Son, the Deputy General Director of the Competition Administration Department for the Ministry of Trade in Viet Nam.