Blanca Rodriguez Galindo (Head of the international relations unit, DG comp)
Bianca Rodriguez Galindo opened the conference by highlighting the significant global expansion of competition regimes in the past 20 years. Over 120 jurisdictions worldwide now have competition laws and a dedicated competition authority. Nascent competition regimes should not be expected to follow practices adopted by more mature jurisdictions, but there is significant value to be gained from agencies sharing ideas and experience. In recent years, the European Commission has entered into informal cooperation agreements with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa with a view to aiding the progressive development of case cooperation with these countries. In the past year, over 60 per cent of the European Commission’s cases have involved some form of international cooperation, and this figure is expected to rise.
PANEL 1 : MERGERS REVIEW
In all developing jurisdictions, panellists emphasised the importance of submitting complete merger submissions in a timely manner. The newer competition authorities have the burden of establishing themselves as strong enforcers like their counterparts in more mature jurisdictions and as a result apply procedural rules with rigour. Three key themes were explored by the mergers panel : public interest issues, efficiencies, and failing firm defences. As regards public interest issues, we heard how in Brazil these can be influential at the remedies stage only with the primary review focusing solely on competition issues. This contrasts with the position in Africa, where public interest considerations are significant and in effect form a second substantive test in merger control.