ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) has been fined Rs100 million for price fixing, in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2010.
This was the second fine imposed by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on PPA after a penalty of Rs50m in August 2010, which the association contested in courts on the grounds that the CCP itself was an illegal entity.
Meanwhile, a CCP official said that despite the court cases, the commission has warned the PPA not to get engaged in price-related discussions as it was an anti-competitive behaviour.
The PPA has been further directed to cease and desist from advertising the rates of poultry products and to submit a compliance report with the registrar of the CCP.
The order has been passed by a bench comprising CCP Chairwoman Vadiyya Khalil, Dr Shahzad Ansar (member Office of Fair Trade and Advocacy) and Ikramul Haque Qureshi (member Cartels and Trade Abuses and Legal).
The order disposes of the proceedings arising out of the show-cause notice issued to PPA after CCP took notice of a series of advertisements published in various daily newspapers by the poultry association regarding prices of live broiler chicken, broiler chicken meat (collectively boiler chicken) and chicken eggs from Oct 6, 2015 to Oct 12, 2015.
The order finds that by notifying the prices of poultry products under the banner of the association, the PPA has taken an anti-competitive decision in violation of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2a) of the Competition Act. It further states that PPA’s actions have the potential of influencing pricing trends in the market and manipulating the behaviour of market players.
The order reiterates that while trade associations play an important role in the development of industries, exchange of any commercially sensitive information, including mere discussion of pricing-related matters is strictly prohibited under the Competition Act.