December 17, 2020

BRUSSELS – Today, global tech trade association ITI led a panel of experts in a discussion on the recently-released Digital Markets Act (DMA). The panel, which was part of an event co-hosted with DOT Europe, featured MEP Anna Cavazzini, Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee; Gökhan Cetintas, legal advisor for the German Economy ministry; Alexander de Streel, Academic Co-Director of the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE); and Guido Lobrano, ITI’s Vice President of Policy and Director General for Europe. A webcast of the event is available here.

The conversation offered an opportunity for the world’s leading technology companies to discuss key aspects of the DMA including the need for a rigorous, objective process for the identification of so-called gatekeepers. Panelists noted that it is important to make sure these criteria reflect the actual impact of a company on the market rather than relying on metrics concerning size. The criterion of market share instead of turnover or number of users was discussed as a potential solution. The panel also raised the importance for the companies concerned to be able to justify practices that diverge from the new obligations proposed in the DMA.

“ITI and our members stand ready to support the Commission in designing proportionate policy tools that guarantee fair competition in Europe and a harmonised approach across the single market,” said ITI’s Guido Lobrano, Vice President of Policy and Director General for Europe. “That said, the DMA presents some significant questions, including on appropriate consideration of consumer welfare, as well as the very notion of a so-called gatekeeper. ITI underscores the need for the Commission to focus on a company’s conduct and its interaction with users, rather than the size of a particular player, users, or the number of services it offers. The Commission should also ensure appropriate procedural guarantees, and checks and balances in relation to its new proposed powers and its broad margin of appreciation. Further, international dialogue and cooperation in developing the new rules of the road for the digital economy is critical and should be a central component of the Commission’s work as it moves forward with this proposal. Today’s conversation provided an opportunity for all stakeholders in the technology ecosystem to discuss these critical issues and work together to achieve the important goals of maintaining a safe, competitive, and innovative online environment.”

Panelists also discussed provisions regarding enforcement, highlighting that these need to be effective but also flexible and based on dialogue between companies and regulators. The panel also explored the proposed new regulatory role for the European Commission, as well as the balance between the need for a harmonised enforcement at the EU level and the involvement of national authorities. Other arguments touched upon potential solutions to ensure the accountability of the Commission in enforcing the new rules. Finally, panelists agreed on the international relevance of the DMA, as other markets may draw inspiration from it. In this regard, ITI stressed the importance – both to the EU as well as the multilateral trading system – that European policymakers ensure that the key features of the DMA are objective and non-discriminatory.

Watch the full event, including the panel on DSA, here.

ITI issued a reaction and initial analysis of the DMA and the Digital Services Act on Tuesday, available here.