Report of the 16th Symposium on Trends in Retail Competition

Title page of Oxford Symposium report
The report of the sixteenth annual symposium on Trends in Retail Competition: Private Labels, Brands and Competition Policy is now available to download. This year the symposium focused on the nature of competition in digital markets and the future of cooperation between competitors for sustainable initiatives. The first session on sustainability looked at how the competition rules can be read in order to allow companies to collaborate on sustainable initiatives without engaging in anticompetitive practices. A speaker from DG CNECT, participating in the second session on consumer protection in digital markets, highlighted the importance of transparency in the new Digital Services Act and discussed the provisions most relevant to ensuring that online platforms act responsibly. The session also looked athe recent work of the Digital Markets Taskforce and the Digital Markets Unit in the UK. The third session opened with an overview of algorithmic practices and how these can be used to both help and hinder competition. The speakers focused on how to avoid the risks of personalisation and targeting. Finally, the fourth session provided an insightful discussion on the work of the Commission on vertical restraints, including the upcoming revision of both the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and the accompanying guidelines. The speakers suggested ways in which the Commission could further help businesses to prove efficiencies in this area.