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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Intellectual Property Forum wants amendments in Competition Law

The BIPF also advocated for using the term "cartel" instead of "syndicate" when it comes to market volatility

Update : 10 Mar 2024, 05:49 PM

The Bangladesh Intellectual Property Forum (BIPF) on Saturday demanded that the government bring necessary changes to the Competition Law to boost investment and employment.

The BIPF also advocated for using the term "cartel" instead of "syndicate" when it comes to market volatility.

The observation was made at a roundtable titled 'Commodity Prices, Market Management and Competition' organized by the BIPF at a city auditorium.

BIPF founder Barrister ABM Hamidul Mishbah said there were many discrepancies in recent judgments made by the Bangladesh Competition Commission.

He also cautioned against wrongful prosecution of manufacturers, citing potential repercussions such as reduced investment and employment opportunities.

Mishbah said there was a need for adherence to due process in applying competition laws and pointed out the absence of the term "syndicate" in the country's legislation.

He also said that the government could not dictate product prices, which are determined by demand and supply dynamics.

Responding to queries about the Competition Commission's judgments, Mishbah criticized the commission's handling of cases, alleging a lack of receptiveness to feedback.

He said the existing law of the commission indicates members of the entity should be from different disciplines as they must have the knowledge on law, market, economics and many other issues related to products and commodities.

Economist Prof Dr Mohammed Helal Uddin from Dhaka University criticized the temporary policies like tariff cuts, which he believed exacerbate market instability in the long run.

"Only two weeks ahead of Ramadan, the government cut tariffs on date. Is it possible for traders to bring dates in such a short period and what other traders would do who brought the product at higher rates much earlier?" he said.

Disagreeing with assertions denying the existence of syndicates, writer and researcher Gowhar Naeem Wara urged a focus on addressing real market issues rather than debating semantics.

He also said farmers have little access to the retail markets which is a key reason for such a high price gap which hurts both the farming and consumer communities.

Economist Prof AK Enamul Haque of East West University cautioned against attempts to suppress market volatility hastily, as it could exacerbate instability.

Former Director of the Bangladesh Competition Commission Mohd Khalid Abu Naser said the country has been witnessing a gradual market centralization which is unusual for the consumers.

He said other factors such as fluctuating exchange rates of local currency against US dollar as contributors to market volatility.

The Competition Commission is a non-government adviser and legal economist MS Siddiqui said there is a need to initiate a mechanism involving the commission, the Consumers Right Protection Directorate (DNCRP), primary producers group and experts to combat the market volatility in a comprehensive way.

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