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Indian law firm ELP drafts Afghanistan’s Competition Act

Exclusive: Economic Laws Practice (ELP) has been called in to draft Afghanistan’s new competition law regime together with the UK-based think tank Adam Smith Institute in a project funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).

ELP Delhi partner Samir Gandhi and associate Rahul Rai returned from a one-week trip to Kabul this month, while Rai and ELP Mumbai partner Suhail Nathani will also travel to meet the Afghanistan ministries later this month.

Gandhi said that it was a six-week project that was intended to wrap up by 23 December. “We are relooking at the competition policy and redrafting the competition law pretty much from scratch, to give them something that works and at the same time is a modern day competition law. We will get rid of the Taliban era hoarding law and put in some consumer protection.”

Nathani explained that Afghanistan’s draft Competition Act would not be modelled on the Indian Competition Act but would incorporate other global models, such as work done in the field by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the OECD. “What we’re going to do is look at the kind of concepts Afghanistan needs. We already have a clear policy direction and we are now going to translate that to legislative drafting.”

Gandhi added that the first question that usually came to everyone’s mind in relation to the project was why Afghanistan was investing into competition policy at the moment. He explained that the government and international organisations were concerned that as Afghanistan’s markets opened there would be no repeat of what happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union where oligarchs and others had quickly secured monopolies over valuable state assets.

The project is led by the Adam Smith Institute, which contacted ELP with the brief to create the draft bill and assist in early stages, said Gandhi. “I don’t think our assignment carries forward to the end stage process.”

Photo by mknobil

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