AAI Invites ICPAC to Endorse Concept of International Academy of Competition Policy

Jul 27 1999
Testimony and Interventions

Merit E. Janow, Executive DirectorInternational Competition Policy Advisory CommitteeC/o Marianne PakDepartment of Justice, Antitrust Division601 D Street, NW, Room 10015Washington, DC 20530

Dear Professor Janow:

This replies to your letter of July 13, requesting personal views on the possible future role of technical assistance programs to countries with new or developing competition policy regimes. The American Antitrust Institute is an independent non-profit research and education organization, founded a little more than a year ago. Our philosophy, participants, and work product may be found at our website, www.antitrustinstitute.org .

In this submission, we relate a proposal that the AAI has presented to and which is currently pending at the Ford Foundation. The proposal seeks funding for a one year feasibility study for the establishment of the International Academy of Competition Policy (referred to here as "The Academy").

The Academy has four objectives: (1) in-depth training of professional staff from transitional competition agencies around the world, (2) reducing the turnover rates experienced by transition competition agencies by requiring participants to commit to remaining with their agencies for a specified period of years, (3) generating a network of international competition policy professionals, and (4) contributing over time to the informal harmonization of competition policies.

In our proposal, the focal point of the feasibility study will be a carefully-prepared two-day planning conference for the study's international advisory group, to be held in Washington, D.C. A list of those who have already agreed to serve on the advisory group, if funding is obtained, is enclosed. The group will have available the findings of a survey of the training needs and interests of the competition agencies in transitional countries, and their reactions to some of the ideas which are set forth below. The survey form is currently being drafted with the assistance of members of the advisory group.

The Design of an International Academy of Competition Policy

Certainly there has been substantial technical assistance to emerging competition policy agencies. Much of it has been directed toward assistance in drafting laws and regulations, and early-stage institution-building. To the extent that it has involved actual antitrust training for enforcers, most of this assistance has been in-country, generally of relatively brief duration, taught by antitrust experts who are flown in to teach a short course and then are gone, and frequently aimed at the top-level officials of the new agencies. (This is not to deny that in some instances, the experts have been stationed in-country for prolonged periods.Also, some assistance has taken place in an apprentice context involving US or other national agencies.) Such an approach was necessary under the circumstances, but we believe that there are now enough competition agencies in place that a different approach will be better suited to their needs.

The Academy would therefore offer a very different model:

It would be non-governmental, governed by a board representing the various stakeholders, including some of the transitional agencies.

  • ¨The Academy would be permanent and centralized, possibly though not necessarily in Washington, DC. Students would come to the Academy. Teachers would be specialists in the training program and the program would be carefully designed and continually improving.
  • ¨The curriculum would be both intense and prolonged. The student would attend classes for two or three months. Courses would be offered three or four times per year.
  • ¨The program would be aimed at the professional staff member who must function under the circumstances of a transitional competition agency. (Eventually, it could be expanded to cover other categories, such as top-level officials; journalists; private-sector lawyers and economists.)
  • ¨It would be multidisciplinary, covering law, economics, business strategy, and public administration.
  • ¨The approach would be comparative. Rather than teach a U.S. perspective or a E.U. perspective or some third perspective, it would continually draw on all major perspectives in a respectful way, and would integrate the experiences brought by the various students from their home agencies.
  • ¨With a permanent staff and faculty and making use of visiting practitioners (often law enforcement officials), utilizing hypothetical cases and role playing, the process will be far more efficient than apprenticeships.
  • ¨Participation would require a quid pro quo, such as the student's contract to continue to be employed by the home agency for two years after completion of the course.
  • ¨The Academy could be affiliated with a university, which would award a degree for completion of the training program, continuing on-the-job experience at the student's sponsoring agency, and acceptance by the Academy's Journal of a relevant publishable paper.
  • ¨The Journal would contribute both to the networking of the Academy's graduates, and to the continued development of research that would be helpful to transitional competition agencies.

Obviously, a great many details need to be worked out, and the above concepts would be only a starting point for the advisory group. The following is the task we are proposing for the feasibility study ("the Project").

Goals and Objectives of the Feasibility Study

The end-product of the Project will be a report that (a) documents the need for an international training program for the professional staff of competition policy agencies in nations with transitional economies; (b) examines various formats of training that have occurred, are occurring, or are planned; (c) determines the most appropriate format; (d) develops a plan for the establishment of the Academy, including budget and likely funding sources, curriculum and trainers, location, and other logistical matters.

(a) Documenting the Need

Early in the Project, and possibly before the Project is funded, we will send a questionnaire to the heads of the world's competition policy agencies advising them of what we are doing, seeking their ideas about what would or would not be useful, and asking whether their agencies would be likely to send participants to an international academy of competition policy. We will also canvass the literature on transitions and seek out the opinions of experts.

(b) Examine Training Formats

We will systematically contact agencies that have engaged in competition policy technical assistance to learn what they have done and what has or has not worked well. To the extent that ICPAC has compiled this information, we request your assistance.

(c) Determine Most Appropriate Format

Although we will gather information in (a) and (b) above, the critical event for the Project will be a two-day conference in which the Advisory Group meets. The agenda for this meeting will be carefully prepared, reflecting what has been learned in (a) and (b). A record will be made of the discussions.

(d) Develop a Detailed Plan

The final report will be based largely on the deliberations of the Advisory Group. Going beyond general recommendations, it will spell out a detailed business plan for the establishment and operation of the Academy. Among the issues that will have to be addressed:

Intensity of demand for an Academy Budget per year Revenue sources Physical location of Academy Operator (e.g., non-profit? a university? a specially-created organization?) Governance Personnel for administration and training Curriculum duration, philosophy and content Hands-on vs. academic aspects of training Language of instruction, translation issues Development of course materials Selection criteria for participants Social aspects relating to network-building during and after course Incentives for reducing turnover Distance learning Relationships with client countries

While we would not ask ICPAC to endorse our particular proposal for a feasibility study, we hope that you will reach the conclusion that some non-governmental institution similar to the model we are developing is necessary and that you will endorse the general concept. Your endorsement of the concept may make it easier to convince foundations and governments and others to underwrite the Academy.

We would be happy further to pursue this in any manner you suggest.

Sincerely,

Albert A. FoerPresident

Enclosure: List of advisory group members

Advisory Group for the AAI's Proposed Feasibility StudyAs of July 27, 1999

From the American Antitrust Institute:

Stephen Calkins, Professor of Law, Wayne State University, former General Counsel of the FTC, antitrust author, teaches comparative competition law.

William E. Kovacic, Professor of Law, George Washington University, antitrust author, former FTC attorney, consultant to many transitional nations.

Robert H. Lande, Venable Professor of Law, University of Baltimore; antitrust author, former FTC attorney, consultant to various transitional nations.

Spencer Weber Waller, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, specializes in international trade and competition, former Justice Dept. attorney.

The following have also agreed to participate as advisors. Their affiliations are given for identification, and are not intended to reflect any institutional endorsement.

Russell Pittman, economist, plays a major role in international competition policy activities at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Randolph Tritell, Assistant Director for International Antitrust, Bureau of Competition, U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Shyam Khemani, heads up competition policy matters for the World Bank

Terry Winslow, responsible for outreach to transitional economies at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Robert Thorpe, Director, NIS-ME Project IRIS (Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector), University of Maryland, experienced in training in Post-Soviet Central and Eastern Europe.

Ben Slay, of the economic consulting firm EconPlan, competition policy author, highly experienced in training in Russia, Hungary, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Vladimir Capelik, former First Deputy Ministry, Russian Federation State Antimonopoly Committee, Moscow.

Armando Rodriguez, editor of the Journal of Latin American Competition Policy and competition policy author; former FTC economist; has consulted with many Latin American competition agencies; affiliated with an international consulting firm.

We are awaiting confirmation from several others of comparable stature and expertise.