"We are hosting an international conference titled "Competition and Consumer Protection" for the second time as part of our ongoing reforms towards competition policy and consumer rights protection. Our goal is to strengthen the competition policy in Georgia and improve consumer rights mechanisms. Additionally, discussing the results, challenges and achievements at the international and local level in a joint format and introducing European standards, which is of the utmost importance for the process of our country's integration into the European Union" - the opening remarks made by Irakli Lekvinadze, the chairman of the Georgian National Competition Agency, at the international conference.
Irakli Lekvinadze presented an activity report of the National Competition Agency in 2023 to the conference guests. Among these, the Chairman of the Georgian National Competition Agency emphasized the fuel, pharmaceutical, and banking-insurance sectors, as well as the obtained results in terms of consumer rights and anti-dumping. Irakli Lekvinadze also spoke about plans for the future, announcing that the Agency will become the Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency in 2024.
According to Irakli Lekvinadze, the competition and consumer protection event is being hosted in Georgia for the second time and has the format of an annual celebration. According to his explanation, the conference will have nine topic sessions in which attendees will examine effective mechanisms of competition policy enforcement, cartels, concentration control, consumer rights protection, and fair trade policy in a collaborative format for three days.
The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Levan Davitashvili; Zurab Azarashvili, Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia; Davit Songulashvili, the Chairman of the Sectoral Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament of Georgia; Mikheil Sarjveladze, the Chairman of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia; Teresa Moreira, the Head of Competition and Consumer Policies at UNCTAD and Ori Schwartz, the Head of the OECD Competition Division made a welcome speech at the event.
The Conference is being organized with the joint cooperation of five Regulatory Authorities – the Georgian National Competition Agency, the National Bank of Georgia, the National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission of Georgia, the Communications Commission and the State Insurance Supervision Service of Georgia.
The conference was attended by delegations from 20 countries, as well as heads of competition and consumer sector from ten different countries, government and parliamentary members, local and international experts, representatives of public and regulatory bodies, academia, and the business sector.