The Competition Commission of India (CCI), organised a virtual workshop of BRICS Competition Agencies on ‘Competition Issues in Automotive Sector’ during 05-06 November 2020. The CCI is the project co-lead of the Automotive Working Group (AWG) along with Competition Commission, South Africa. The Workshop was declared open by the Chairperson CCI, Ashok Kumar Gupta in the presence of Members of the Commission, Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi. The Workshop was attended by senior officers of BRICS Competition Agencies.
Earlier, BRICS Competition Agencies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of competition law and policy in May 2016 (In 2020 extended for an open-end period) to enhance co-operation and interaction. In accordance with this MoU, four working groups had been constituted on important industries/ sectors viz pharmaceuticals, food, automotive and digital markets. These working groups have collaborated with each other to adopt best practices. The present workshop was held amongst the AWG.
Chairperson CCI, Ashok Kumar Gupta, in his opening remarks stressed the importance and growth of the automobile sector in developing countries, especially the BRICS nations. He mentioned that the presence of numerous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) within BRICS, due to existing congenial factors for production and assembly plants, makes such market a favourite destination for leading OEMs to tap the enormous potential. The Chairperson suggested that the market regulators certainly do not want to be the speed bumps in the way of this industry but on the other hand have to be pro-active to flag competition concerns, that simply cannot be ignored. He mentioned that a plausible common solution may emerge due to the presence of most of the global automobile players in BRICS jurisdiction, thereby focusing on common approaches and standardisation. He highlighted the imperative need to discuss and reflect on the emerging issues, including relating to big data, in this sector.
The workshop was also addressed by Secretary CCI, Jyoti Jindgar Bhanot with her welcome remarks. Thereafter, representatives of BRICS Competition Agencies made presentations highlighting the key developments in the automotive sector in their respective jurisdictions. Challenges, arising out of new age digital economy, were also deliberated. During the Workshop, common issues that all BRICS nations are facing, emerged and the way forward to tackle such issues including the importance of advocacy was also debated.