The "Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices", which was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 35/63 (December 1980), is so far the only fully multilateral instrument in existence on competition law and policy.
UNCTAD, in application of its mandate in the Set, holds the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy (IGE on CLP) annually and organizes a Review Conference at Ministerial level every five years. This year, the Conference -the Sixth Review Conference- will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from the 8 to the 12 of November 2010.
The Sixth Review Conference, which replaces the IGE on CLP for this year, is open to all member States of UNCTAD, as well as selected civil society and private sector representatives. Country delegations will be invited to be headed by Ministers and to include the heads of their competition authorities.
The Sixth Review Conference will, inter alia, assess the application and implementation of the United Nations Set on competition in its 30 years of existence, and discuss proposals for its improvement.
As decided by the IGE on CLP at its July 2009 session in its agreed conclusions, the Sixth Review Conference will take up the following issues for better implementation of the Set:
- A voluntary peer review of Armenia's competition law and policy
- Cluster of issues related to the implementation of competition law and policy:
- Judicial Review of competition cases.
- Appropriate sanctions and remedies.
- The use of leniency programmes as a tool for the enforcement of competition law against hardcore cartels in developing countries.
- Cluster of issues related to the role of competition policy in promoting economic development:
- Evaluating the effectiveness of competition law in the promotion of economic development.
- The appropriate design and enforcement of competition law and policy in countries at different stages of market development.
- The role of competition advocacy, merger control and the effective enforcement of law in times of economic trouble.
- Cluster of issues related to the review of the experience gained in the implementation of the United Nations Set including voluntary peer reviews:
- Modalities for facilitating voluntary consultations among member States and regional groupings, in line with section F of the United Nations Set.
- Evaluation of the experience gained so far in the implementation of the United Nations Set, including UNCTAD voluntary peer review.
- The role of networking in the exchange of non-confidential information in facilitating cooperation among competition agencies.
- Effectiveness of capacity-building and technical assistance, including consultations on the Revised Model Law on Competition Policy
As has become customary, the Sixth Review Conference is expected to adopt a comprehensive resolution, expressing consensus views on the United Nations Set and competition law and policy in general and giving guidance to the UNCTAD secretariat as to its activities in this field for the next five years.