Total or partial exemptions from competition laws can affect important economic sectors regulated by the public authorities. OECD Member countries should periodically examine the particular need for certain regulations or exemptions and, where feasible, to place greater reliance on competition and the enforcement of restrictive business practices laws.
The 1979 Recommendation on Competition Policy and Exempted or Regulated Sectors urges Member countries to undertake periodic reviews of regulations and related exemptions from competition law in order to assess, with the participation of competition authorities, a) whether the initial reasons or circumstances which gave rise to regulations, or to particular aspects thereof, remain valid under contemporary conditions; b) the extent to which those regulatory regimes or particular aspects thereof have achieved their objectives, and the true social, economic and administrative costs, as compared to benefits, of achieving those objectives by means of regulation; and c) whether the same objectives could in fact be achieved under contemporary conditions by the operation of competition subject to control under restrictive business practices laws, or by forms of government intervention which restrict competition to a lesser degree.
The role of competition authorities in such review is fundamental and Governments are invited to provide adequate means of consultation and co-ordination of action between regulatory authorities and competition authorities so as to enable the latter to have a positive impact on the formulation and implementation of regulatory schemes and policies regarding issues.
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