Watchdog makes available competition policy documents

The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission is now releasing its three policy documents for use by stakeholders and the general public.

The three documents are: the Business Acquisition Review Guidelines; the Leniency Policy; and the Confidentiality Guidelines.

The Business Acquisition Review Guidelines is intended to explain the processes of Clearance and Authorization under the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission Act 2002 (ICCC Act). This guideline explains the legal requirements under the ICCC Act in terms of when to apply for a Clearance or Authorization, the thresholds for mandatory notification, whether the ICCC would have issues with a transaction which may not meet the notification thresholds and therefore raise competition concerns.

It also sets out the processes that the ICCC is required to follow when assessing and determining an application for Clearance or Authorization.

ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Paulus Ain, said it is an important and informative document for businesses to appraise themselves about the prohibitions on anti-competitive business acquisitions regime under the ICCC Act.  

Also included as part of the guideline, are the new Clearance and Authorization application forms that were developed for use following the amendment to sections 81 and 82 to the ICCC Act.

The Confidentiality Guideline is intended for stakeholders who submit commercially sensitive information to the ICCC for various reasons.

Commissioner Ain said over the years, businesses often seek confidentiality when providing information which are thought to be commercially sensitive. 

“Whilst section 131 of the ICCC Act provides that the ICCC should give due considerations for requests for confidentiality, the experience is that businesses seek ‘blanket’ confidentiality and often do not provide reasons for seeking confidentiality,” Ain clarified.

“When trying to deal with confidentiality request that has such issues, it often takes the ICCC’s time away from concentrating on the substantive issue at hand. The ICCC therefore has develop the Confidentiality Guidelines for the stakeholders to do self-assessment and make confidentiality request accordingly.

“The guideline also talks about the role of the ICCC in handling confidential information, in particular the process of how request for confidentiality can be made to the ICCC and how confidential information provided to the ICCCC will be considered and managed. The development and use of this guideline is intended to give confidence to the stakeholders to provide appreciate the process and provide confidential information to assist the work of the ICCC. .”

The guideline therefore also includes a standard application form that parties can use to apply for confidentiality. The ICCC has been recently using the form for request for confidentiality.

The Leniency Policy is developed to deal with cartel conduct. Cartels are often highly secret and hard to detect; hence, competition authorities in many jurisdictions have developed and used leniency policies as a tool to successfully uncover and prosecute cartel members.

This policy provides the platform for the ICCC to provide incentives for members of a cartel to report anti-competitive activities. It provides guides on how businesses and individuals can report cartel conduct to the ICCC, and how the ICCC will handle their applications. 

The guideline explains the relevant provisions under the ICCC Act and how these provisions invoke certain penalties that can either be waived or reduced if a cartel participant applies for leniency under the Leniency Policy.

Copies of the three documents are on the ICCC’s website. Stakeholders can also contact Steven Sugl or Emmanuel Auru on telephone (675) 325 2144 or email ssugl@iccc.gov.pg or eauru@iccc.gov.pg, respectively, for copies of these documents.

Author: 
Press release