Call for proactive international enforcement against
New Delhi, March 2, 2017
“Competition authorities world wide
need to cooperate actively to bust international cartels”, said
John M Connor, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University & Senior
Fellow, American Antitrust Institute.
Prof Connor was delivering a well attended lecture organised by
CUTS International and CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition
Cartels not only cheat consumers and other businesses, they also
restrict healthy economic growth. Cartel conspiracies and the
related consumer harm raise the question of what can be done to
improve competition law enforcement to deter cartelisation.
‘One of the major problems faced by competition authorities is
that they don’t get cooperation from countries in acting against
global cartels’ observed Prof Connor.
Mr Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International welcomed
the dignitaries and underlined the importance of robust
enforcement against cartels, as being one of biggest civil crimes
in a market economy.
Prof. Connor specialises in empirical research in industrial
economics and competition policy; since 1997 the focus of his
research has been international price-fixing cartels and
world-wide enforcement of price-fixing laws.
The distinguished lecture gave an opportunity to learn about
various aspects of international enforcement directed at cartels.
Presentation slides of the lecture can be accessed at:
Among others, large number of young competition lawyers attended
Calculating optimum penalties for cartels is complex and
challenging. It needs to take into account a number of factors
including the probability of detection and the probability of
enforcement if a cartel would be formed.
Commending the endeavours by CUTS in the field of competition law
and policy, Prof Connor gave interesting instances and cases on
global cartels while sharing his research experience.
Penalties imposed by the world’s competition authorities on global
cartels have exploded over the past quarter century. Furthermore,
the number of cartels being discovered each year is rising at an
exponential rate, thereby challenging the current global
Post lecture discussion moderated by Mr Mehta involved eminent
competition law experts including Amitabh Kumar, a senior
competition lawyer and former DG, Competition Commission of India.
With reference to the first leniency case in India, Mr Kumar
highlighted the need for a clear leniency and penalty regime for
competition enforcement in India, and therefore there is a need
for a clear set of guidelines for the same.
Highlighting the challenges and solutions, Connor stressed on
proactive cooperation between competition authorities to check
global cartels. He said that dangers of over-deterrence of cartel
fines are exaggerated and under-deterrence of cartelisation is the
There is no compensation for the dead-weight losses due to
collusion by cartels and harm to the market mechanism itself.
Mr Mehta raised an interesting point about the busting of
Transatlantic air cargo cartels by many of the developed country
authorities that much of the cargo on this route can be attributed
developing countries in Asia and Africa. Their consumers end up
paying for it, without being able to claim any redemption, while
private actions in the US have resulted in airlines compensating
In his vote of thanks, Mr Mehta concluded that robust enforcement
mechanisms are needed to control cartels and optimal cartel fines
need to take into account the consumer harm so as to ensure the
welfare of consumers.
“We have been highlighting this every year during the observance
of the World Competition Day on 5th December”, he said. “Next
year, we will highlight the need for global cooperation and also
raise it at the forthcoming ICN meeting in Porto, Portugal”.
further details, please contact:
Udai S Mehta, firstname.lastname@example.org , +91 9829285926,
and Saket Sharma,
email@example.com , +91