Harper Competition Review Draft Report


A few selected topics:

Taxi industry and disruptive innovation

P.30: "States and Territories should remove regulations that restrict competition in the taxi industry, including from services that compete with taxis, except where it would not be in the public interest.

If restrictions on numbers of taxi licences are to be retained, the number to be issued should be determined by independent regulators focused on the interests of consumers."

P.  139: "Mobile technologies are emerging that compete with traditional taxi booking services and support the emergence of innovative passenger transport services. Any regulation of such services should be consumer-focused and not inhibit innovation or protect existing business models."

IP and competition policy

P.31: "The Panel recommends that an overarching review of intellectual property be undertaken by an independent body, such as the Productivity Commission. The review should focus on competition policy issues in intellectual property arising from new developments in technology and markets.

The review should also assess the principles and processes followed by the Australian Government when establishing negotiating mandates to incorporate intellectual property provisions in international trade agreements.

Trade negotiations should be informed by an independent and transparent analysis of the costs and benefits to Australia of any proposed IP provisions. Such an analysis should be undertaken and published before negotiations are concluded."

{P. 80-87 are already on my students' mandatory reading list.}

RPM and Retail MFN

P. 46 f.: "The Panel considers that there is not a sufficient case at this time for changing the prohibition of  RPM from a per se prohibition to a competition based test. It would be appropriate, though, to allow business to seek exemption from the prohibition more easily. This could be achieved through allowing RPM to be assessed through the notification process, which is quicker and less expensive for businesses than  authorisation. This change would also have the advantage of allowing the ACCC to assess RPM trading strategies more frequently, and thereby provide better evidence as to the competitive effects of RPM in Australia."

P. 234 f.: "Historically, RPM has been considered in the context of ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers. RPM is now emerging as an issue for new models of digital-based retailing. eBay states, based on annual surveys of its sellers, that around a quarter of sellers are instructed by their suppliers to sell at recommended retail prices (...)
RPM in digital markets also recently received significant international legal attention when Apple was found to have breached EU and US competition laws
by fixing the prices of e-books in collaboration with five publishers."

Big Data, Personal Data Protection and Competition Policy

P.129: "Markets work best when consumers are engaged, empowering them to make informed decisions. There is capacity to enhance Australian consumers’access to data on their own usage of utility services in a usable format to assist consumers to make better informed decisions.
in collaboration with fivepublishers."