CMA hosts first two-day digital summit of G7 competition heads
The CMA is today hosting the first dedicated 2-day summit with the heads of the G7 competition authorities to discuss cooperation across digital markets.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will today welcome heads of the G7 authorities and guests to its London headquarters for the agenda-setting event. The G7 Digital Competition Enforcers Summit will strengthen relationships between international competition authorities and look to increase collaboration on issues related to competition in digital markets.
The Summit offers a unique opportunity for international agencies to discuss various questions, including on emerging issues such as in relation to large digital platforms, app stores, online marketplaces, digital advertising, mobile ecosystems, cloud computing and algorithms. It also provides an opportunity for attendees to consider areas for potential collaboration and reflect on how best to use their skills, knowledge, and resources to deal with challenges in digital markets.
These discussions come at a seminal point, with the need to address the challenges of digital markets and big tech one of the most important issues facing governments and competition authorities around the world.
The Summit and related work have come out of the UK’s G7 Presidency, with the CMA tasked with using its status as a leading competition authority to convene international partners. The aim is to find coherent and complementary ways to encourage competition and support innovation. It builds on previous collaboration between the CMA and its international counterparts.
This will be the first time that the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, with the EU) competition heads have specifically come together to discuss these issues with the heads of competition authorities from the G7 guest countries (Australia, India, South Africa, South Korea).
In order to capture some of the work that the G7 competition authorities are doing, they will today jointly publish a compendium. The document outlines each authority’s work in addressing competition issues in digital markets and highlights shared approaches and tactics.
opening investigations and studies, or bringing enforcement actions;
developing specialist teams staffed with technical experts;
considering or introducing legislative reforms to bolster enforcement tools or introducing new regulatory regimes;
and ensuring regulatory cooperation domestically and internationally.
The compendium will inform future cooperation and coordination including through existing competition international forums, as well as provide a resource for governments and other policymakers.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said:
Tech businesses are at the heart of many all-important services for consumers and businesses, so it is crucial that they can continue to thrive. Yet currently too much market power is concentrated in the hands of too few firms. Whether in online shopping, web searches or social media, companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook exert an unprecedented level of influence over our lives.
These global challenges require a coordinated global response, which is why this Summit is so vital.
As the leaders of G7 competition authorities, we recognise that joint action across international jurisdictions is needed to ensure big tech’s dominance is not harmful to people and businesses, wherever they may call home.
Today is an important step towards the increased collaboration that will enable lasting positive change in digital markets around the world.
The CMA is one of the leading global authorities taking steps to address competition concerns in digital markets. It has established the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to give consumers more choice and control over their data as well as promote online competition and crack down on unfair practices. The DMU launched in shadow form in April and the government has recently consulted on introducing legislation which will give it the powers it needs to oversee a new regulatory regime for the most powerful digital firms, promoting greater competition and innovation.
The CMA is also part of the Digital Regulation Co-operation Forum (DRCF), alongside the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority. The DRCF was formed in July 2020, building on the strong working relationships between these organisations, to ensure a greater level of cooperation and tackle the unique challenges posed by regulation of online platforms.
The DRCF is now launching a new programme of work to uncover digital regulation issues. Separately from the Summit, DRCF members are today taking part in a panel discussion hosted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) at the Future Tech Forum, to discuss this programme. As part of the programme of work going forward, stakeholders in the digital sector are encouraged to get in touch about any concerns.
The CMA has a number of ongoing investigations into issues in digital markets. These include investigating Google’s ‘privacy sandbox’, Facebook’s use of ad data, Apple’s AppStore, as well as a market study into mobile ecosystems. Through its powers to investigate mergers, it is also investigating the acquisition of Giphy by Facebook (now Meta Platforms), after provisionally finding that this deal raised competition concerns.