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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

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The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices in New York and Addis Ababa. UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat. It reports to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council but has its own members, leadership and budget. It is also part of the United Nations Development Group.

The United Nations General Assembly has entrusted UNCTAD with the role of focal point within the United Nations on competition and consumer protection issues, as stated in General Assembly Resolutions 35/63 of 22 April 1980 on Competition, and 70/186 of 22 December 2015 On Consumer Protection.

The aim of the Competition and Consumer Policy Program is to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development goals by improving the functioning of markets through enhanced competition and consumer protection.

One of the goals of UNCTAD's activities is to promote competition protection and foster global competitiveness in order to provide equal trade opportunities at the global level.  UNCTAD supports policies and promotes frameworks that protect and empower consumers against the unfair practices of more powerful entrepreneurs.

 

Protection of Competition

Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy

UOKiK participates in the meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Competition Law and Policy held once a year. This group meets to discuss ways to improve global cooperation on competition policy implementation and increase convergence through dialogue. The basis for intergovernmental consultations is the United Nations set of principles on competition.

 

The IGE Group has no rule-making function, but conducts its work through:

  • interactive debates
  • voluntary mutual evaluation of competition law and policy
  • round tables on specialised competition issues
  • reviews of technical assistance and capacity building activities.

 

Once agreement is reached on the recommendations, individual member states decide whether and how to implement the recommendations (e.g. through unilateral, bilateral or multilateral agreements, as appropriate).

 

Cross-border Cartel Working Group

In 2020, a working group on cross-border cartels was established, open to United Nations Member States, with the main purpose of highlighting best practices, facilitating information exchange and consultation, and reporting to the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy. The working group meets regularly by teleconference and is open representatives of national competition authorities, interested organisations or international networks. 

 

Consumer Protection

UOKiK participates in the meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts of Consumer Protection Law and Policy. It is a permanent body established under the United Nations Consumer Protection Guidelines that functions to monitor the application and implementation of the guidelines, provide a forum for consultation, conduct research and studies, provide technical assistance, undertake voluntary peer reviews, and periodically update the guidelines.

 

In 2021, UOKiK joined the following working groups:

 

The working groups meet regularly and informally by teleconference and are open to government representatives with relevant expertise (e.g. national consumer protection authorities, national consumer product safety authorities), interested international organisations and networks, and parties representing civil and academic societies.

 

World Consumer Protection Map

In 2021, UOKiK also joined "the World Consumer Protection Map" project.  The genesis of the project goes back to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/186 on Consumer Protection of 22 December 2015, which states that a solid legal and regulatory framework for consumer protection serves an important public interest, contributes to economic dynamism and consumer welfare. In agreed conclusions after the first session in 2016, the intergovernmental group of experts for Protection Law and Policy requested the UNCTAD Secretariat to prepare a study on the legal and institutional framework for consumer protection.

 

The aim of this project is to provide an updated and comprehensive picture of consumer protection worldwide, identifying trends and benchmarks as well as challenges.

 

Key links:

 

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