International Competition Network
In 2001 an international competition network was established, consisting of various antitrust authorities. Membership is voluntary but has increased dramatically since the ICN’s inception; 14 member states launched the ICN (including Australia) – there are now more than 100 member agencies.
Its aim is to ‘facilitate procedural and substantive convergence in [competition] enforcement through a results-oriented agenda and informal, project driven organisation’. It works with other international organisations, such as the OECD and the WTO in order to avoid duplication of work effort, and seeks input from international associations and practitioners (legal and economic), industry and consumer associations and academics..
The ICN is limited by the fact that it is not a rule making body, but has made various recommendations and developed sets of ‘best practices’ in the area of competition law enforcement, particularly in relation to mergers and cartels. They are yet to be widely implemented, but progress is being made.
Amendments to the ACCC’s merger processes have been, at least in part, motivated by a desire to adhere to the best practices developed by the ICN and the Dawson Committee also made reference to these when making some of its recommendations.