The aim of the protection of market competition is primarily to create benefits for consumers and equal conditions for all entrepreneurs on the market, who, acting in accordance with the existing rules and competing on the market with the quality, price and innovation of their products and services, contribute to the overall development of the economy.

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Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) hosted the 22nd ICN Annual Conference in Barcelona from 18 – 20 October 2023

The ICN annual conference gathered an unprecedented number of jurisdictions represented by the members and NGAs attending the event that was be larger than ever before.

At the conference, participants discussed and exchanged experience in working group sessions and addressed cross-cutting issues, including the interaction with courts, intersection of competition and data, food markets with a focus on developing countries, artificial intelligence, and sustainability.

The plenary sessions included the Advocacy Working Group, the Agency Efficiency Working Group, the Cartel Working Group, the Merger Working Group, the Unilateral Conduct Working Group, and a number of breakout side sessions.

Croatia was represented by the president of the CCA Competition Council Mirta Kapural, PhD, and the vice-president Vesna Patrlj, LLM.

The president of the CCA Competition Council Mirta Kapural, PhD moderated the plenary session “Anti-cartel enforcement in the digital era: Building effective case teams to meet new challenges”. The speakers were Ms. Isabel López Gálvez, Head of the Leniency and Cartels Unit, CNMC, Spain, Mr. Manish Kumar, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement, USDOJ, and Mr. Makgale Mohlala, Division Manager, South Africa Competition Commission. They all agreed that in the digital era the agencies are also increasingly relying on a wide range of sophisticated digital analysis tools, including document review and case management software, tools for collecting and analysing phone and messaging data, and screening tools.  The purpose of this session was for agency leaders to discuss strategies for effectively equipping cartel enforcement teams to meet the challenges of today and build for the future.

Two special workshops were held for the heads of the agencies on the topics: Artificial Intelligence and Market Competition led by Lina Khan, chairwoman of the FTC, and on the topic of Sustainability and Competition. Furthermore, due to the need of the digital market and the new approach and new experts in the competition authorities, a new working group of ICN, ICN agency technologists, was recently established, which includes agency technologists, data scientists, digital experts and similar technology profiles. The goal of this new forum is to facilitate the exchange of information and connect the groups of technologists.