Introduction of Mr. Peter Freeman by Mr. Manuel Sebastião, Autoridade da Concorrência Seminar - Anatomy or Painting? Making Sense of Market Investigations

Mr. Ambassador

Mr. Peter Freeman

Ladies and Gentlemen

Colleagues and Staff from the Portuguese Competition Authority

It is my honour and privilege to introduce to you Mr. Peter Freeman, Chairman of the Competition Commission of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Freeman is an accomplished anti-trust and competition lawyer, who distinguished himself in the practice of his trade in Brussels and London before becoming the Chairman of the Competition Commission three years ago.  He is also a man of many interests, and among these there is everything that relates to maritime history.  As such, he could not but feel a great affinity for Portugal.

Since the very beginning of my tenure, I knew I could count on Mr. Freeman to guide me through the intricacies of competition issues and policies at the international level.  I am deeply grateful for his advice and friendship.

Mr. Freeman is as young as his agency.  In fact, both were born in 1948, which means that these two events make a worthy addition to an already remarkably eventful year in the history of Europe and the world.

As you may recall, 1948 saw many great events, among them the first six months of the Berlin airlift and of the first shipment from the US to Europe under the aegis of the Marshall Plan.  Europe had then to cope with the immense destruction of WW II and one of the darkest hours of the Cold War. 

Today, we are in the midst of the worst financial and economic crisis since the 1930s, a crisis that challenges our way of life, our approaches to economic policy, and our role as competition officers confronted with decisions on how to play our part in finding solutions to this crisis. 

That in the midst of the Cold War there was the vision, the fortitude, and the statesmanship to create a Competition Commission in the UK, to launch and sustain the Berlin air lift, to design and implement the Marshall Plan, gives us the reassurance that once again we shall overcome. 

As competition officers, we also have to face our share of challenges, which may require a novel approach to the way we think about competition issues in crisis situations and beyond.  Knowing that the international competition community can count among its members a personality with the experience, the expertise, and the wisdom of Mr. Freeman is a reassurance that competition issues could not be in better hands.            

His seminar today - "Anatomy or Painting? Making Sense of Market Investigations" - will provide us with an enlightened view of how these market investigations could be developed and how they fit within the work of competition agencies.  This is all the more relevant for us as the Portuguese Competition Authority has recently been involved in a hig-profile market investigation, unique of its kind in all OECD countries, on the impact of the 2008 oil shock on the Liquid Fuel Market in Portugal.  With two reports already out, the study will be completed with a final report due at the end of the month.  Mr. Freeman will be talking today about many of the best practices in competition issues, and you may like to check how many of these, if not all, have been followed by the Portuguese Competition Authority in its own endeavours.

So, with no further ado, let me now turn to Mr. Peter Freeman.  Sir, the floor is yours.

Thank you.