Fair competition is more than just a slogan. Fundamental to development at the individual and societal levels, it enables a level playing field for every person and entity to pursue and progress for the wider public good. In reality, this is not always the case, though. The existence of entrenched interests and malpractices means some businesses and individuals continue to suffer. The Competition Commission, therefore, is to be commended for tackling some long existing irregularities in relation to membership admission criteria and procedures of trade groups, and professional and sports bodies. The watchdog said during the course of an investigation that it had encountered situations that raised concerns under the antitrust law. For example, some industries make membership in an association an essential precondition for entering the market. But the admission criteria and procedure can be so restrictive that it may be harmful to aspirants. Exclusion may also deprive one of accreditation, government subsidies and advantages that are given only to members. The power to recommend fee scales by trade bodies may also harm competition, the commission says. Competition Commission calls on trade groups to avoid onerous membership policies Rules and practices should be transparent, proportionate, non-discriminatory and objectively based. One advice by the watchdog is that professional bodies accredited by the government to oversee a register for qualified practitioners should refrain from telling clients to only work with their registered members. That does not mean there is no room to set one’s own rules and standards. The trade bodies just have to review and ensure that what is in place is reasonably necessary and fair. As rightly acknowledged by the commission, trade associations bring benefits to the economy and social development by providing training to members as well as setting industry standards and best practices. The antitrust law has been in place for nearly a decade. But it remains fairly new and under-publicised to many bodies whose opaque and onerous rules have been taken for granted over the years. The review is one of the many more steps needed to make fair competition an everyday reality.