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Anti-protectionism conference kicks off in Istanbul

Updated:2010-04-28 15:19:25

An anti-protectionism conference that aims to foster global economic competition kicked off Tuesday in Istanbul.

"To put competition on hold during a crisis is the very description of failure," said Joaquin Almunia, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for competition policy, in reference to the financial meltdown that recently hit the international markets.

Almunia remarks came at the opening of the International Competition Network's 9th annual conference.

The three-day event brings together officials, business leaders and over 600 attendees from 110 institutions from the four corners of the world.

He said the crunch was no excuse for national firms to turn their domestic markets into protectionist areas, adding "such move would cause the whole economy to suffer."

The ICN has presented a report, tracking down trends and developments in cartel enforcement in 45 countries, including Turkey and the United States as well as countries from the European Union.

Regarding significant changes in competition laws over the past decade, the report noted that all of the listed countries, except Mongolia and Poland, benefited from increased penalties, while 35 of them had changed laws to allow for greater investigative powers and greater leniency.

The report also found that regarding the increase in public perception of the importance of cartel enforcement, 35 countries benefited from both effective enforcement actions and from greater media coverage.

Turkey was one of the countries that undertook many changes regarding cartel laws, including increased penalties and greater investigative powers. However, regarding cartel enforcement, it did not prioritize enforcement, or pay much attention to qualify cartel specialists.

Almunia later spoke of the importance of global convergence, saying that respective competition laws of each country should be brought in line with one another to strengthen cross-border competition.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said that it was important for public institutions to take the competitive mechanism into consideration. "We, at the Istanbul Municipality, have set the creation of a competitive and transparent environment as a priority."

Giving examples of projects with low costs and ahead-of- schedule completion dates -- thanks to competition, Topbas cited the Istanbul Congress Center which was completed in record time for last year's International Monetary Fund summit.

Turkish Competition Association President Nurettin Kaldirimci said the conference would act as a guide for the re-evaluation process of Turkey's competition rules.

 

 

Source:http://news.xinhuanet.com

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