Oct 22, 2013
CPI ICN Column edited by Maria Coppola (U.S. Federal Trade Commission)
The ICN’s 12th Birthday – What’s New? – Andreas Mundt (President, Bundeskartellamt)
Autumn is a very busy time of year for ICN Members. It is when the Working Groups start dedicating their attention more closely to the work products they have planned to complete in the current ICN year. This year the ICN Working Groups have decided to host a number of global and regional workshops and teleseminars, and to draft reports, practical “hands-on” chapters for agency manuals and guidance documents. All are valuable work products that will foster cooperation and convergence between competition authorities worldwide.
Each new ICN year begins after the Annual Conference and ends with the Annual Conference of the following year. The work plans are drafted in spring by the individual ICN Working Groups and are adopted by the Steering Group. Summer sees the Working Groups doing preparatory work. ICN members, however, are traditionally most busy from autumn through to spring until the next Annual Conference.
This year, however, the new work projects are not the only new issue ICN members have to adapt to. In September 2013 a new leadership took office. Together with the two Vice-Chairs Bruno Lassere, President of the French Autorité de la concurrence, and Vinicius Marques de Carvalho, President of the Brasilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense, I took over the position of ICN Chairman.
Having been a member of the ICN since its establishment, this is a great honor for me. I have seen the ICN grow from a small informal group of competition agencies to become the strong and remarkable association of 126 members it is today. In the past 12 years since its foundation, we have experienced many benefits from discussing fundamental issues with our peers and the ICN’s non-governmental advisers (NGAs). In 2011, after growing into a mature organization that was about to complete ten years of existence, the ICN conducted a stock-taking exercise. The Second Decade Project was launched as a consultation to evaluate the ICN’s strengths and room for improvements in order to maintain the network’s exceptional momentum. Its results have helped the ICN to ensure that all its members benefit from this organization as much as possible.
In my term as ICN Chair I aspire to take consideration of these results. I will also build upon the work of the previous ICN Chairs. I will therefore continue to promote the dissemination of our work products and competition advocacy. Experience shows that the dissemination of competition experience, including best practices, the formulation of proposals for procedural and substantive convergence, the promotion of competition advocacy and efforts to facilitate effective international cooperation have become the core business of the ICN in the Working Groups and in special projects.
Implementing existing work products will also remain a key element of the ICN’s future work. The ICN and its work products will only be able to maintain their important position in competition authorities’ day-to-day work if we make these high quality products available to everyone and continue to promote their implementation. We will use many different mechanisms and tools to achieve this goal. Global and Regional Workshops and teleseminars, for example, will remain important instruments of implementation.
To meet the challenges of this well-established organization, focus and inclusiveness will remain indispensible elements of our path forward. It is essential that we identify the most relevant topics, while being aware of different preferences depending on geographical or other particularities. Focus also means taking into account the economic conditions that ICN members are facing. Some members have had to reduce resources and stretch their capacities to participate in many different areas of the ICN’s work. Focussing its work and at the same time scrutinizing processes will enable the ICN to maintain the high quality of its work products and build upon a broad basis of input from the diverse membership. The success of the ICN is also linked closely to the involvement and commitment of its members. Therefore renewed attention will be given to the consultation of members and their participation. The ICN will also continue to include NGAs and international organizations as much as possible in its work. This too will foster convergence and enhance cooperation.
This week the ICN will celebrate its 12th birthday. This will be a suitable moment to look back with pride on its achievements. Having been a part of the ICN family from its beginnings, this will be a special moment for me to celebrate the ICN’s birthday for the first time as its Chairman. Looking to the future, I am confident that thanks to the tireless efforts of all the ICN members, the ICN Steering Group and the Vice-Chairs the ICN will remain successful in the years to come.
Finally, I would like to ask all readers to look out for the next ICN Town Hall meeting in December 2013. Together with the Vice Chairs Bruno Lassere and Vinicius Marques de Carvalho, we will be presenting the Chair’s vision statement for this ICN Chair’s term and the Vice-Chairs’ project in more detail. ICN members, non-ICN members and NGAs alike are invited to join the call to hear about this year’s work programme and how to get more involved.