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Bangladesh reviews competition law and policy to increase market efficiency

The Commonwealth, in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC), is supporting Bangladesh to conduct a peer review on competition law and policy.

Bangladesh reviews competition law and policy to increase market efficiency

As one of the world’s most densely populated countries, and with over 7 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), Bangladesh’s rapidly growing private sector is key to generating decent and sustainable incomes in such labour-intensive markets.

To evaluate the country’s competition law and policy, a voluntary peer review mechanism was commenced amidst the challenging context of the Covid-19 pandemic, synonymous for exposing the fragility of MSMEs and their limited capacity to withstand external shocks. On 6 March 2024 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the findings of the peer review were presented to stakeholders that could partner with BCC to implement the recommendations for improving the legal and institutional framework within their respective areas of jurisdiction, including other government line ministries, sector regulators, academia, private sector and development partners.

Minister of Commerce, Honourable Ahasanul Islam Titu, speaking at the Peer Review Dissemination Workshop, highlighted the importance of the review, noting:

"It is time, as an emerging country, to start earning respect from the eye of the international community regarding how we implement and practice the rule of law.”

As Bangladesh is evaluating its market economy in preparation for its planned graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2026, the review of its competition policy is essential to ensure effective competition and allow markets to operate efficiently.

Speaking on the role of the review, Ms Elizabeth Gachuiri, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said:

“Volunteering to undergo the scrutiny of our Competition Act enforcement experience demonstrates a commitment to regulating and establishing a level playing field for businesses in Bangladesh. Through the exchange of experiences and best practices from competition agencies across the world, this review is just the beginning of a long journey in the international competition space.”

Following the dissemination of the review, a one-day capacity building workshop was held for members of the Bangladesh Competition Commission, whose partnership was pivotal to the preparation of the peer review. Specific areas of focus included competition law and policy enforcement, merger analysis and investigations, cartel agreements and digital markets, with case examples and knowledge sharing provided via online presentations from competition authorities such as the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

Mr Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, Chairperson, Bangladesh Competition Commission, emphasised the importance of the review and associated capacity workshop, stating:

“The review provides an invaluable opportunity to introspect on current processes and legal framework and to learn from the experiences of other competition authorities. Training of competition officials to enhance their technical expertise can help emerging countries, such as ours, to improve their trade performance and support competitiveness.”

Promoting initiatives to protect and upgrade the competitiveness of MSMEs to adapt to changing market conditions and global shocks is a priority for The Commonwealth’s Trade Competitiveness Section.

Ms Abebe, Head of the Commonwealth’s Trade Competitiveness Section, commented:

“Supporting Bangladesh to upgrade competitiveness and adapt to changing contours of market conditions is key to creating a conducive environment to enable micro, small and medium enterprises to trade and invest in domestically, but also enhance performance globally through value chain integration.”

The initiative paves the way for further training and knowledge exchange with competition authorities to enhance the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the competition culture in Bangladesh, while also supporting the implementation of recommendations from the peer review for improving the legal and institutional framework.

Read More: Here

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