International Competition Network gets Professor Farmer's help on advocacy
November 30, 2012
At the International Competition Network (ICN) Advocacy Workshop in Paris last month, Professor Beth Farmer worked with fellow panelists Seppo Reimavuo, director of the Finnish Competition Authority, and Shri S.L. Bunker, secretary of the Competition Commission of India and moderator Caldwell Harrop, Foreign Commerce Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, to help define the role of the ICN in competition advocacy. The ICN's mission is to "advocate for the adoption of superior standards and procedures in competition policy around the world, formulate proposals for procedural and substantive convergence, and seek to facilitate effective international cooperation to the benefit of member agencies, consumers and economies worldwide." ICN members represent national and multinational competition authorities.
Professor Farmer said, "the panel redefined 'advocacy' to include not only outreach to the public but also active engagement with legislators and regulators, including providing expert services, testimony at hearings, drafting model laws, presenting programs and information gained from market studies. For example, in India, the ICC interprets “competition advocacy” broadly to include training law students about competition so they can respond to consumer complaints, and also training judges in the law and economic analysis." She said the panel also noted that ICN has responded to some agency requests to sit with the agency and provide information and advice on best practices and to stand by the agency in interactions with others, including, for example, writing letters to regulators and legislators on draft legislation as well as ICN best practices.
Professor Farmer first became involved with ICN while on sabbatical in Beijing in 2008. In 2009 she was a co-rapporteur and since 2010 has been rapporteur for ICN's Annual Conferences held throughout the world. In addition, she has worked with a number of working groups including analyzing the merger requirements for some of the member jurisdictions and writing and editing the effective project delivery chapter for a toolkit.
One of the major initiatives of the ICN is its curriculum project which develops and makes available training modules on competition law and practice for competition agency officials. Professor Farmer interviewed Amadou Ceesay, Executive Secretary of the Gambia Competition Commission for an upcoming module. You can find the video modules on the ICN's website.