G7 - Antitrust: a Common Understanding on Competition and Digital Markets
The competition authorities of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, USA), together with the European Commission, presented last week the Common Understanding they have reached on the issues raised by the digital economy for competition analysis.
The G7 competition authorities’ Common Understanding was agreed upon on June 5th, 2019 in Paris, and was shared with the G7 Finance ministers at their meeting held in Chantilly on July 17th-18th, 2019.
The Common Understanding outlines the G7 competition authorities’ joint views on how competition plays out in the digital economy, along four main ideas.
- “Competitive markets are key to well-functioning economies” and the many benefits of the digital economy “can best be realized if digital markets remain competitive”; to that effect, “sound competition law enforcement will continue to play an important role in safeguarding trust in digital markets and ensuring that the digital economy continues to deliver economic dynamism, competitive markets, consumer benefits, and incentives to innovate”.
- “Competition law is flexible” and fit for purpose in the digital era – yet it is necessary for competition authorities to continuously improve; while “recent casework shows that competition law generally provides competition authorities with the tools and flexibility to tackle anticompetitive conduct in the digital economy”, it is still important that they have “the tools and means to deepen their knowledge of new business models and their impact on competition”.
- Because “regulations also can harm competition by increasing the cost of entry and entrenching incumbents”, the Common Understanding notes that “governments should assess whether proposed and existing laws or regulations unnecessarily hinder competition in digital markets” and that “sharing a competition authority’s knowledge throughout government helps promote a competitive digital marketplace”.
- “Given the borderless nature of the digital economy, it is important to promote greater international cooperation and convergence in the application of competition laws”; moreover, “international cooperation helps foster a coherent competition landscape, which is also of interest for business stakeholders”.
The G7 competition authorities’ Common Understanding is the outcome of a thorough, high-level dialogue started upon the initiative of the 2019 French G7 Presidency, and steered by the Autorité de la concurrence over several months.
Rome, 22th July, 2019