Brazil Hosted the 23rd ICN Annual Conference

Brazil Hosted the 23rd ICN Annual Conference
Photo: icn2024sauipe.cade.gov.br 28.05.2024 368

The event, which took place in Brazil from May 14 to 17, gathered representatives from more than 80 countries to discuss current antitrust issues. 

In mid-May, the 23rd Annual Conference of the International Competition Network (ICN) was held in Brazil. The main discussions at the event revolved around cartels, mergers and acquisitions, unilateral conduct, advocacy, and the effectiveness of competition agencies. In addition, the conference presented the results of projects carried out by the ICN working groups.

The meeting with authorities from Portuguese speaking countries is an opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge, said the President of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense of Brazil (CADE), Alexandre Cordeiro, during a breakout session in Portuguese on the last day of the event.

Authorities from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and also representatives of Mozambique, Portugal, and Cabo Verde were present at the event. 

One of the main topics addressed in the meeting was the regulation of digital markets. According to Antônio Gomes, Deputy Director of the OECD, the regulation of digital markets is going to be a trend. He also said that artificial intelligence is another field that has raised the interest of antitrust authorities.

“AI can bring many benefits and positive productivity gains, but we have to be aware of the risks, such as discriminatory leverage of digital companies in the AI market, which can create high market concentration,” 

he explained. 

The topic was also discussed in the session “Algorithmic collusion and other digital challenges in cartel enforcement” promoted by the Cartel Working Group of the ICN. The Assistent Superintendent of CADE, Fernanda Machado, Lucília Falsarella (United Kingdom), Tsuyoshi Ikeda (Japan), Adrien Giraud (France), and Ricardo Oliveira (Portugal) took part in the debate. 

Ms Machado presented the case analysed by CADE on airplane tickets involving algorithms. The proceeding was launched based on several complaints about the abusive price increase of airplane tickets in several Brazilian states. During the investigation, CADE analysed the usage of algorithms for pricing and how the companies use machine learning to define prices, to determine if they could indicate an anticompetitive practice or if they could lead to collusion. 

According to her, these tools can facilitate the exchange of sensitive information among competitors.

“Consider a service provided by a third party, in which the algorithm suggests prices, analysing especially the dinamic and private data updated by different competitiors, with the main objective of maximising the outcomes of a company. Would this represent a competitive risk if competitors exchanged information in a traditional way? Therefore, it is fair to say that the companies should avoid this practice when using this type of algorithm”, 

she stated. 

The last panel of the event presented experiences and challenges of monitoring and evaluating practices of antitrust agencies. Representatives of Brazil, the Netherlands, Hungary, Singapore, Greece, Uruguay, and Dominican Republic took part in the session. Among the current alternatives, the panelists reported successful initiatives led by the OECD to measure efficacy of individual interventions.  

Finally, the president of CADE, Alexandre Cordeiro, the president of the ICN Steering Group Chair, Andreas Mundt, and the General Counsel of the UK Competition and Markets Authority, Chris Prevett gave speeches in the closing session of the conference. Mr Mundt thanked CADE for the organisation of the event and highlighted the welcoming experience for the ICN  in Brazil. In addition, Mr Cordeiro highlighted the importance of the debates 

for promoting a fair competitive environment.

 Since 14 May, about 400 people from more than 80 countries have attended the conference, joining more than 40 hours of activities. 

To see the conference panels again, access CADE’s YouTube channel. 

Source: Gov.br

Brazil  ICN 

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