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ACCC to head international consumer protection

ACCC to head international consumer protection

The Australian competition watchdog will lead the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and host a conference in November, the Government announced on Friday.ICPEN is…

The Australian competition watchdog will lead the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and host a conference in November, the Government announced on Friday.

ICPEN is a global network of more than 40 countries focused on enhancing consumer protection by increasing co-operation between enforcement agencies.

ACCC Deputy Chair Peter Kell will take on the role of ICPEN president, a position previously occupied by a representative of France's consumer protection agency.

Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr Craig Emerson said the appointment enhances the reputation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as one of the world's leading consumer protection agencies.

"As part of the presidency, the ACCC will lead international efforts to curb consumer risks and contribute to effective consumer protection," he said.

The network is aimed at sharing information about cross-border commercial activities that may affect consumer interests and Emerson said international co-operation planned to stem cross-border marketing malpractice.

"Consumers everywhere enjoy greater choice in a global marketplace, especially online. But there are also greater opportunities for scammers and fraudsters to target consumers," he said.

"Online health cure scams, fake lotteries and deceptive marketing claims confront consumers daily. This type of misconduct is increasingly international in nature, requiring a global enforcement response."

Consumer protection officials from around the world, with member countries including the UK, US, Switzerland, Italy and China, will discuss emerging issues and consumer protection enforcement trends at the November conference.

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