Competition law and policy during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic: Reflections in the Arab region
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has provoked a public health crisis, large-scale loss of life and severe human suffering. The pandemic has also set in motion a major economic crisis that will burden our societies for years to come.
In the Arab region, competition is facing several unexpected challenges. Markets in the Arab region have seen an intensification of government intervention, including measures to protect employment due to business shutdowns, subsidies, and price controls. The region has witnessed a sharp increase in cases of price gouging, which is the result of shocks in both demand and supply of certain goods and of ineffective supply chains. Affected businesses depend on mergers as a survival tactic, potentially resulting in decreased competition adversely affecting consumers. Governments in the Arab region need to understand the importance of promoting and protecting competition laws and polices across the economy domestically and regionally. Furthermore, governments should involve competition authorities in the design of economic recovery packages and in the monitoring of their implementations to ensure the adherence to competition principles and to pave the way for recovery.
Accordingly, this webinar will discuss the challenges faced by competition authorities in the Arab region during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath and discuss measures authorities can take and already have taken in some cases in order to protect and promote competition. Furthermore, it will discuss the importance of regional and international co-operation and will illustrate the role of regional and international organizations and how they can support competition authorities to adjust to the new challenges.
The first session of the webinar will present the main challenges faced by competition authorities around the world and the best measures taken to protect and promote competition since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the second session, national competition authorities will share their experiences regarding the challenges they have faced since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and the remedial measures they have taken to protect and promote competition in their countries. During the third and last session, speakers will explain the role of regional and international co-operation in this context and UNESCWA, OECD, and UNCTAD will present their final remarks.