Earlier this year, the COMESA Competition Commission (the CCC) published draft comprehensive Guidelines to its Competition Regulations and Rules (COMESA Regulations). It subsequently invited the public to submit comments on the draft Guidelines by 6 May 2013.
A number of top South African law firms participated in submitting their respective observations, suggestions and criticisms on the draft Guidelines in a series of consolidated comments addressed to the CCC.
Although the extent and nature of the interplay between these Guidelines and the COMESA Regulations is still unclear, the Guidelines are aimed at providing much needed clarity on various aspects of the COMESA Regulations.
It appears, however, that there is still some work to be done in respect of the Regulations. On the 9th of August this year, the CCC issued a call requesting assistance from a consultancy to undertake a comprehensive review of the COMESA Regulations.
The objective of the review, according to the CCC’s terms of reference, is to “strengthen the enforcement capacity of the Commission through the development of comprehensive Regulations and Rules that are in line with international best practice”.
While it will no doubt impact the CCC in the implementation of its functions, the review process promises not only to provide further clarity and certainty on the COMESA Regulations, but will also hopefully address some of the challenges currently afflicting the CCC’s competition regime.
The review process is scheduled to begin on 31 October 2013.