ISLAMABAD (APP) - The 9th meeting of the Competition Consultative Group (CCG), a body set up by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to provide a platform for seeking advice and suggestions for better promotion of competition regime in Pakistan, was held in Karachi on Tuesday. According to CCP press release issued here, the Chairman of the commission, Khalid Mirza presided over the meeting which was also attended by CCP members Abdul Ghaffar, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Dr. Joseph Wilson, Vadiyya Khalil and DG Research, Shahid Ahmed; CCG members who include industry representatives, sector regulators, academicians and officials of the Government of Pakistan. The Chairman CCP, Khalid Mirza, gave an overall summery of the measures taken by the commission since the last CCGs meeting to promote competition in the country, the press release added. He also briefed the CCG members on the actions recently taken by CCP against undertakings who were allegedly breaching various provisions of the Competition Ordinance. Apart from the five orders issued by the Commission, these actions include search and inspection of the offices of Pakistan Poultry Association to investigate its alleged indulgence in cartelisation, issuance of show cause notice to Ace Group of Industries for deceptive marketing practices by wrongful use of the trade marks of BMW and Harley Davidson, issuance of a policy note to the Government of Pakistan to amend bilateral air services agreement of 1972 with the Government of Saudi Arabia, and holding of hearings in various pending cases. The Chairman also apprised the CCG members of his recent high level interaction with the World Bank (WB) officials during which the Bank effectively recognized CCP as most successful project. The Chairman said that the CCP had achieved a lot during the last couple of years and thanked CCG members for giving precious advice to the Commission on various issues from time to time. The CCG members were briefed on the four new sectoral studies recently published by CCP. As part of the CCPs ongoing programme of sectoral research, titled, competition impact assessment studies, four new sectoral studies on aviation, electric power, fertilisers and sugar have been completed. DG Research, CCP, Shahid Ahmed informed the CCG members that the primary purpose of CCPs research programme is to enhance the understanding of competition issues in the economy. The studies focus attention on competition-related vulnerabilities that might exist in particular sectors of the economy, such as a potential for cartelization, abuse of dominance and use of deceptive marketing practices. The study on aviation describes the nature of aviation sector reform adopted by Pakistan which is based upon a limited open skies policy. The study underlines the risks involved in a fully market-driven industry such as adverse effects on safety and service levels and even some anti-competitive outcomes principally through an abuse of dominance that manifests itself in predatory conduct on the part of existing national carriers as well as the setting up of informal entry barriers for new airlines. The study on electric power highlights the dramatic transformation that this sector of the Pakistan economy is undergoing. The study emphasizes the need to re-examine the tariff structure, including the use of subsidies and variable peak-load pricing, and assess whether it is flexible enough for the private sector to sell electricity to the national grid on a commercially viable basis. The study on fertilizers has found that in the production of urea the sector is dominated by three major firms who together control 80 per cent of the market. However, their ability to set prices depends ultimately on the level of subsidy that the government provides in feed-gas rates. The study on sugar reveals a number of areas where risks of anti- competitive conduct are evident. The CCP recommends that the sugar industry should strive to attain international levels of efficiency and this can only happen in a competitive environment in which sugar producers are incentivised to follow their own business strategies and are not bound by collective agreements reached on their behalf by their trade associations. The government, for its part, must give serious consideration to setting up a strategic food reserve management system so that both growers and sugar refiners can plan their production on a stable and predictable matrix of demand, output, stocks and prices so as to maximize efficiency in the sector.