DEVELOPING countries must collaborate on competition policy to improve enforcement, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
“Many of the countries in our region already have a competition law and policy. Enforcing competition law and policy particularly for developing economies is very challenging partly because of the novelty of the competition law in many of these countries and the lack of experience,” he said in a World Bank ‘Services for Development in East Asia and Pacific’ virtual briefing on Wednesday.
Mr. Balisacan served as the competition commissioner during the Duterte administration.
Collaboration will “ensure the competition policy they put in place is sensitive and compatible with their stage of development,” he added.
“What happens sometimes as we try to put in a regime, we look at what developed countries do, in Europe and the US, and there are of course strong pressures to adapt those measures… but I think developing countries and the Philippines in particular have to be a bit more aggressive and be informed that what works for other environments may not work for them,” he added.
Mr. Balisacan said that the digital economy is “even more challenging” due to strong network effects and data concentration.
“The competition authorities, when we were established and were quite new, had difficulty initially,” he said, citing the need for sharing regulatory tools for enforcement and data about digital platforms.
Mr. Balisacan added that the reforms to the Public Service Act (PSA), which took almost 25 years, were driven by the need for foreign direct investment to support the economy.
“At the same time, evidence shows that it is this highly protectionist regime that has contributed to this low progress in increasing opportunities for employment and productive sources of livelihood,” he added.
The amended PSA Act allows full foreign ownership in more public services such as telecommunications, airlines, and railways. It took effect in April. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson