Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan in Competition Policy approved

Increased engagement through knowledge sharing and the studying of best practices in the domain is on the anvil

July 9, 2021

The MoC is in line with Section 18 of the Competition Act, 2002 that allows the CCI to take on beneficial partnerships.

Technical cooperation and enforcement protocols will also be explored through the Memorandum.

The scrutiny of the TRIPS Agreement and Intellectual Property Rights highlights the importance of Competition law.

International fora like WTO focus on trade liberalization and ensuring equitable trade protocols for developing countries.

The Cabinet yesterday approved a Memorandum on Cooperation (MoC) between the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the  Competition Commission of India (CCI) in order to increase bilateral expertise in Competition Law and Policy. The MoC will facilitate the exchange of both knowledge and best practices from both participating countries. It will also look to strengthen enforcement and technical cooperation, configuring methods to assess how Competition Law and Policy can positively impact consumers and other relevant stakeholders. The Memorandum on Cooperation fits within the purview of Section 18 of the Competition Act, 2002 which empowers the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to take on partnerships and memoranda with foreign entities in order to enhance its operations. 

Bilateral partnerships in the aforementioned domain are rare owing to the asymmetry of benefits involved in such partnerships. Given the prevalence of national competition laws across both developed and developing economies, fora such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),  Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), and the International Competition Network (ICN) exist to clear multilateral misunderstandings and formulate equitable approaches towards trade liberalisation. A radical change in global attitudes towards integrating an equitable outlook towards competition policies from the WTO discussions of the 2000s to the current discussions on the TRIPS Agreements. Restrictions in Intellectual Property Rights and unfair trade practices are being scrutinised in international circles, giving way for a more just outlook towards multilateral trade protocols. The recent months, for instance, have seen negotiations on securing a TRIPS Intellectual Property waiver for the creation of COVID-19 mitigation vaccines in developing countries.  Organisations like the WTO are on its path also crucial in preventing unethical trade practices that impact food security in developing economies, as well as the process of bid-rigging in certain types of agreements. As the world continues towards digitisation, trade practices and protocols are expected to evolve with the times. Bilateral cooperation in the domain of Competition Law and Policy will help nations monitor unfair trade practices and put in place ethical codes of conduct, without adversely affecting  any foreign direct investment inflows to the country.