Misleading Marketing Harms Consumers, Competitors: CCP

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Rahat Kaunain Hassan said misleading business practices have a direct impact on consumers and business competitors, therefore businesses must be honest when they sell products.

She recommends businesses to “show what you sell and mean what you mean,” which can make them fully compliant and truthful to consumers and not allow businesses to gain an undue competitive advantage.

She spoke at an advocacy session on competition law organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI).

President of RCCI Chaudhry Nadeem A Rauf, Vice President Tallat Mahmood Awan, Former Senior Vice President Saqib Rafiq, Senior Vice President

Asim Mehmood Malik, executive committee members and business representatives attended the session.

She said companies were free to make profits as long as they did not violate competition principles. “There is nothing stopping businesses governed by law from growing; dominance per se is not prohibited, it is the abuse of dominance that triggers the application of competition law,” she argued.

Kaunain added that the application creates a better understanding of the law and contributes to the development of a culture of competition. Therefore, the CCP would continue to enforce the law in letter and spirit without fear or favor, as it has done in all sectors of the economy.

The president said the CCP is also playing its part in political reform by offering recommendations that would improve economic efficiency and create a level playing field.

As part of its mandate to review policy frameworks, CCP’s pilot study project on “Assessing the Farm-to-Retail Supply Chain” recommends policy measures to improve efficiency economy and eliminate distortions in the supply chain of essential products.

Similarly, its report on the SME sector offers recommendations for improving the economic efficiency of SMEs. Additionally, consultative sessions have begun on the CCP’s draft “E-Commerce Policy Guidelines” for deliberations with stakeholders.

Clarifying the generally misunderstood link between competition law and Pakistan’s comparative country ranking on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), she said competition law played a role in removing barriers to entry, improving market access and creating a level playing field, but the country’s ranking in the GCI was based on other factors such as institutions, infrastructure , information and communication technology (ICT) adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labor market, financial system, market size, business dynamism and capacity for innovation.

Earlier, the President of RCCI recognized the good work done by the CCP and stressed the need to raise awareness about competition law. He offered RCCI’s platform to educate business people on the do’s and don’ts of the law. He also welcomed the president’s suggestion to exempt chambers from the fee for filing formal complaints with the CCP.

RCCI representatives actively participated in the discussion by asking many questions and highlighting many issues.

The president said that the doors of the CCP are open to everyone, and businessmen should feel free to approach the CCP through chambers of commerce or as individuals.