By Narayan Ammachchi
Antitrust policies in the majority of Latin American countries lack clarity and look unpredictable, largely because they are new and rapidly changing, the National Law Review states in its analysis of competition laws in countries south of the U.S. border.
“Because of the newness of the laws and the frequency of change in the law, there are few judicial decisions in many jurisdictions to help define the scope of the antitrust laws,” the report said.
Many Latin American countries have adopted the U.S. model of competition policy, but the problem with the laws is they are constantly changing. “This leads to less clarity in the meaning of the law and less predictability as to enforcement,” the report noted.
Along with the laws, enforcement mechanisms are also changing, stated the report, citing the establishment of separate agencies in a few countries to probe antitrust violations.
In most Latin American countries, analysts say, antitrust concerns had been seen as a domestic issue. But, with global multinationals showing interest in investing in their territories, they are seeing the need to introduce tighter regulation.
Last year, Brazil strengthened the hands of its competition authority, CADE, by bringing changes to its antitrust policies. The report says the new law is similar to that of the United States.
In June this year, Mexico replaced its 21-year-old Federal Economic Competition Law with a new one. This new antitrust law aims to revamp the structure of the antitrust regulator and update the country’s antitrust regulations by adopting Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) practices and standards.
Now there is an investigative unit within Mexico’s regulator, the FECC, to investigate any antitrust violations.