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Ecuador joins the antitrust club

13 octubre, 2011

Ecuador finally joined the antitrust club. The President Rafael Correa passed an antitrust law which had been approved by the National Congress two weeks ago. After reading about the new law, it allows the government to review the M&A activity as well as to fight anticompetitive conducts. In other words, it should look like the typical antitrust law.

However, as in some jurisdictions, the Ecuadorian antitrust law also has its idiosyncrasies. For instance, banks and broadcasters will no longer be allowed to hold interests in other businesses. Although this is not typically an antitrust concern, one has to recognise that there were and still are similar restrictions in jurisdictions. I have also read that the opposition fears that the law may be used to restrict even more the economic freedom as well as the political opposition.

It would be interesting to hear from our readers in Ecuador what they think about their country’s new law.

More information about the new Brazilian antitrust law

11 octubre, 2011

Dear readers,
It has been some days since the House of Representatives voted the bill on the new Brazilian antitrust law.
Believe it or not, it is not yet exactly known what the House of Representatives voted. There are still some points which need clarification.
The most relevant point refers to the top fines to be imposed on antitrust violations, such as abuse of dominant position and cartels. The government’s bill suggested that the top find should be 30% and the Senate reduced it to 20% of the sales made by the company in the industry (no reference to the relevant market is made). When the bill was voted, the government recommended that its representatives should vote against the Senate’s proposal and they actually voted according to the government’s recommendation – the opposition was upset because it had also lost this point.
Surprisingly, the day after the approval, someone noticed that what had been approved was the Senate’s proposal… It is unclear which proposal will prevail. Some argue that it can be corrected, while others believe that the government may have to send another bill to the National Congress to correct the error. All I know is that we will have to wait for the final version to be published in the Official Gazette to know which is the law.
For more information about the new Brazilian antitrust law, please click here for an interesting summary of the main aspects.

Nuevos editores en LaLibreCompetencia.com

9 octubre, 2011

Después de cuatro años de haber fundado este blog mi camino profesional me obliga a dar un paso al costado. En agosto fui designado como asesor del Ministro de Justicia de Colombia y por eso le he pedido a Natalia Barrera y a Victor Pavón-Villamayor que asuman mi función como editor del blog. Estoy seguro que el blog ha quedado en muy buenas manos pues tanto Natalia como Víctor son excelentes académicos y profesionales. Próximamente sabremos sobre los cambios que los nuevos co-editores planean para mejorar el contenido de la página y diversificar las noticias para incluir más jurisdicciones de América Latina.

Son muchas las cosas interesantes que está pasando en América Latina en materia de derecho y política de competencia. El fortalecimiento de jurisdicciones como la de México y Colombia. La maduración de las nuevas autoridades de la competencia de Centroamérica, como la de Honduras y El Salvador, que han mostrado con casos en la mano que tienen la voluntad de velar por el cumplimiento de sus legislaciones. La reforma que parece será aprobada en Brasil (que comentó Leopoldo acá y acá) y la expedición de una ley de competencia por el Congreso de Ecuador (ver antecedentes acá). En fin, la “cosa pinta bien” como decimos en Colombia.

Para despedirme, quisiera hacer un pequeño repaso de los logros del blog. El blog fue creado en septiembre de 2007 bajo un dominio de blogspot (ver acá) hasta febrero de 2010 cuando nos mudamos al actual dominio. Si sumamos las visitas de las dos páginas, encontramos la no despreciable suma de 112,815 hits. Ahora, si nos concentramos en las visitas que ha recibido solo esta página, los números también son buenos. El número de visitantes por día ha crecido sin cesar y actualmente, y en la última medición semanal se registraron visitas de 97 personas por día desde diferentes lugares del Mundo. Los diez primeros países donde están nuestros visitantes son los siguientes:

Desde septiembre de 2007 se han publicado 422 entradas sobre prácticamente cualquier tema en materia de protección de la competencia y de prácticamente todas las jurisdicciones de América Latina. Actualmente hay 96 subscriptores a la lista del correo del blog que están ubicados en América y Europa. Muchos de los suscriptores son abogados que hacen parte de importantes bufetes y miembros de autoridades de la competencia.

En este proyecto hemos estado muy bien acompañados por profesionales de Colombia, México, Brasil y Argentina. Estoy seguro que seguirán publicando con la pertinencia a la que nos tienen acostumbrado y que pronto se sumarán nuevos autores a esta aventura.

Ahora debo concentrarme en mis nuevas responsabilidades laborales pero espero volver a encontrarlos en el camino. Fue un placer andar y desandar estos senderos con Ustedes. Por ahora, como dice la canción, espero que esta despedida no sea más que un hasta luego…

A new antitrust law in Brazil

6 octubre, 2011

Believe it or not, the National Congress passed the new Brazilian antitrust law! I have always been very skeptical about when the new law would be voted and the readers know how many times I voiced my skepticism. Since I started to work with antitrust law in the 1990s, I have seen two other bills to be discarded.

The current bill began to be discussed in 2003 and it was said to be one of the government’s top priorities.  As I Brazilian, I am familiar with idiosyncrasies of the rule-making process in my country, so I did not believe that a new antitrust law was actually a priority, especially when it is compared with the tax and budget legislation. The reader will be able to decide by itself whether 8 years are a priority or not. The optimists would look at the bright side: 8 years are not so bad if you take into account that the first Brazilian antitrust law was passed in 1962 after 15 years under analysis in the National Congress.

Within the next fortnight, President Dilma Roussef will decide whether there is any part which should be vetoed. As the bill was proposed by the government, it is unlikely that the vetoes will be substantial. As I anticipated in my previous post, the government managed to block two amendments made by the Senate: the reduction in the fines for cartels and disproportional rise in the filing thresholds are two of the amendments made by the Senate. If these amendments by the Senate had not been rebutted by the House of Representatives, it is very likely that Brazil would lose the leading role in the antitrust enforcement which it conquered in the last 5 years.

We are living exciting times in Brazil! The authorities are very enthusiastic about the perspectives, especially because more than 200 civil servants will be hired for the CADE. More importantly, the authorities open to accept suggestions in relation to the implementation of the new bill, which gives rise to a lot of opportunity for the civil society and the antitrust community to participate.

I will keep you posted about the next developments.

A new antitrust law in Brazil tomorrow?

5 octubre, 2011

It is 7 pm in São Paulo and I have just finished another day of work. Over the last 12 hours, my inbox was flooded with news coming from Brasília about the new Brazilian antitrust law – according to the information received, the House of Representatives is about to vote the amendments made by the Senate. This may be the penultimate chapter of the new antitrust law, which has been under discussion since 2003 – the last chapter would be be vetoes by the President.

It is consensus among the experts that most of the amendments worsened the original bill: reduction in the fines for cartels and disproportional rise in the filing thresholds are two of the amendments made by the Senate. Some of them are expected to be excluded according to unofficial sources. At least, this is what suggests the report made by Pedro Eugênio, a representative of the Labour Party in charge of analysing the amendments made by the Senate.

Let’s see what will happen. I will keep you posted!

Conversatorio “Derecho de competencia: garantía del desarrollo económico y el interés social”

3 octubre, 2011

La Superintendencia de Competencia de El Salvador y el Departamento de Ciencias Jurídicas de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, invitan al conversatorio “Derecho de competencia: garantía del desarrollo económico y el interés social” que se celebrará hoy a las 5:15 en las instalaciones de la Universidad. El conversatorio incluirá los siguientes temas:

“Origen del derecho de competencia desde la perspectiva económica”,

Ing. Lilian Vega, jefa del Departamento de Economía y miembro del Consejo Directivo de la Superintendencia de Competencia.

“Derecho de competencia y la diferencia con otras ramas del derecho”,
Lic. Daniel Olmedo, abogado de la Superintendencia de Competencia y catedrático del Departamento de Ciencias Jurídicas.

“Prácticas anticompetitivas y pronunciamientos de la Corte Suprema de Justicia”,
Lic. Aldo Cáder, intendente de Investigaciones de la Superintendencia de Competencia y catedrático del Departamento de Ciencias Jurídicas.

Fecha: Lunes 3 de octubre • 5:15 p.m.

Lugar: Auditorio “Segundo Montes, S.J.” (edificio del ICAS).

Extraterritorial reach of the Chilean antitrust law

26 septiembre, 2011

In the Resolución No. 37/2011, stil subject to appeals, the Chilean Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia imposed several restrictions on the envisaged merger between the Chilean LAN and the Brazilian TAM. The merger will create LATAM, one of the largest airlines in the world and definitively the largest one in Latin America.

I will not analyse the merits of the decision. However, there is one particular restriction imposed which raises interesting issues about its extraterritorial reach and its policy repercussion. LATAM will have to transfer 4 slots in São Paulo’s international airport to potential entrants in the Santiago – São Paulo in order to clear the transaction – as it is known to everyone flying to São Paulo, its airport is operating above the maximum capacity and there is little room for entrants to start operations, since the slots for the airplanes to take over and off are limited. To make the case even more complex, the regulations to distribute slots privilege the existing companies rather than the entrants. In this regard, see the economic opinion issued by the Secretariat of Economic Surveillance (SEAE) about the regulations – for the full content of the opinion in Portuguese, click here.

The Chilean decision will put a lot of pressure both on the Administrative Council of Economic Defense (CADE) and the Civil Aeronautics Commission (ANAC). The CADE has always been reluctant to face the high concentration on the slots in the busiest Brazilian airports, while the ANAC’s regulation on slots has never pleased the Brazilian Antitrust Authorities.

For the full content of the Chilean decision, click here.