Monday, February 28, 2011

Senate anti-trust forum provides key trade insights

Senate anti-trust forum provides key trade insights

Metrofile, The Daily Tribune, 27 February 2011

"02/27/2011

Senators from the committee on trade and commerce invited noted experts from a variety of fields to share valuable insights on existing anti-trust practices in the country. According to Sen. Manny Villar, the need for such a forum cannot be overstated. “We need to cover all the bases by conducting public hearings and hosting a series of lectures, so we may all understand the intent of the law and its benefits,” he pointed out. The proposed anti-trust law seeks to penalize unfair trade and anti-competitive practices in restraint of trade, unfair competition and abuse of dominant power. Consequently, it intends to encourage competition in the market place, which will help reduce prices and increase the quality of products and services. “Our committee is dead-set on passing the bill,” Villar further noted. The senators listened to the resource speakers who provided key inputs that are expected to make the final version of the law more effective. Among them were Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya of the Department of Trade and Industry, lawyer Anthony Abad from the Ateneo Center for International Economic Law, and prominent lawyer and consumer advocate Lorna Patajo-Kapunan. After her presentation, a number of local distributors of a multinational corporation (MNC) from the audience approached Kapunan and the senators who were in attendance. It was learned later on that these distributors were driven to bankruptcy by what they deemed to be grossly unfair practices of this MNC. “This is precisely why we need carefully-worded and well-crafted legislation,” Kapunan said in response. “Our current laws not only allow our local businessmen to be bullied and exploited, but the level of leniency actually encourages it,” she emphasized. The committee is also tackling related bills on anti-trust legislation, namely, the Competition Act of 2010, co-authored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Ralph Recto and Antonio Trillanes IV, Senate Bill 123, authored by Sen. Sergio OsmeƱa III, Senate Bill 1838 filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Senate Proposed Resolution 123 urging inquiry into cartels and monopolies sponsored by Villar."

Original article appears on Tribune Online here.

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