|제목||Challenges and changes for competition authorities during and post COVID-19|
The COVID-19 has threatened almost every sector with unwanted challenges and risks. Competition policies are no exception. Under pandemic situations, competition authorities should expedite antitrust procedures, monitor unfair practices exploiting emergency situations, allocate resources efficiently, and share their experiences through the international network of competition enforcers.
However, given that the pandemic could make long term effects on our economy, more fundamental measures should be taken because we might not return to the pre COVID-19. Among others, the currently ongoing digitalization would be anticipated to accelerate and demand towards big governments strengthened while globalization more retreated to localization post pandemic. Responding to each of these challenges, competition authorities have to prepare and change in the new normal. They should exploit this crisis as an opportunity to preemp-tively upgrade their competition policies.
To this end, more comprehensive but rigorous R&D on digital economy policies covering innovation-led economic growth as well as competition policy should be conducted. Competition authorities, when considering innovation factors in competition tests, should balance between ‘false positive’ (convicting the innocent) and ‘false negative’ (acquitting the guilty) to avoid chocking innovation and falling out of the digital competition. Plus, competition authorities should take more interests in researching and be prepared for examining the impacts of digitalization and the pandemic on labor markets, especially regarding the prevalence of ‘gig economy’ or platform labor.
De-globalization post pandemic could reduce inward competition pressures from international markets and then urge competition authorities to engage in more highly concentrated domestic markets. However, active enforcement does not always mean aggressive intervention in the market, especially in the absence of evident anti-competitive effects proved. When a competition authority assesses anti-competition effects of a violation and/or formulates new regulations, the authority should be mindful and armed with antitrust toolkit boxes based on the market- and effect-based approach.
Big government could be effective and helpful in saving a vulnerable group from the pandemic. Even so, big government should not justify excessive intervention at the expense of market competition and consumer welfare. A competition authority in charge of market competition should play a role of critical advisor to other government branches in the intra-governmental relationship on behalf of competitive private sectors for preserving competition and innovation in the market. To do so, the authority should monitor and refrain public sectors from excessively stepping in the market against market principles, particularly when the intervention is anti-competitive and harmful to consumers by suffocating innovation.
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