UNCTAD adopted three major objectives for the realization of the COMPAL regional component which were reflected in the Logical Framework of the COMPAL II proposal (August 2008) approved by the donor. In pursuing these 3 major objectives, this document summarizes the main achievements carried out under these 3 objectives and how the activities of the Regional component have contributed to this endeavor.
1. Regional coherence between competition policy, trade and integration measures:
S5) The SELA/UNCTAD Working Group on Trade and Competition Policies
Two Regional Seminars on Trade and Competition were held in April 2009 in Caracas, Venezuela, and in May 2010 in Brasilia, Brazil, organized jointly by SELA Permanent Secretariat and UNCTAD, and CADE-Brazil in the case of the Second, with the financial support of the Spanish Government. Ministers and senior officials of institutions responsible for Competition and Trade policies participated, as well as the UNCTAD Secretary-General Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi. Both Seminars concluded with a series of recommendations aiming at enhancing cooperation between the Competition and Trade areas, and among all SELA country members. In particular, a proposal was made at the end of the Second Regional Seminar to establish a Working Group on Trade and Competition (WGTC) within SELA, which would count with the substantive support of UNCTAD.
On the 19 October 2010, SELA’s Council endorsed the proposal and created the WGTC. The mandate of the WGTC is to establish contact and dialogue between trade and competition officials of SELA countries (among which, COMPAL countries); to agree on collective actions needed to fight cross-border anti-competitive business practices; to promote studies at regional level on issues of interest to trade and competition authorities; and to share information and experiences as regards these two policy areas.
The First Annual Meeting of SELA’s WGTC was held in Bogotá, Colombia, on 4 - 5 July 2012. The main objective of the meeting was to shape to the WGTC as a regional forum for cooperation between authorities, and to increase coherence of trade and competition policies within the Latin America and the Caribbean regions. It also aimed at analyzing priorities and discussing regional prospects regarding the topics to be discussed during the 11th UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts in Competition, which took place in Geneva in July 2011. Other issues addressed were: (i) Comparative analysis of national and subregional rules on competition; (ii) Comparative review of the efficiency of competition agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean; (iii) Role of government policies and their links with competition policies. Such policies include, for instance, subsidy programmes, monopolies, anti-dumping, concessions, etc.; and (iv) Needs and possibilities for technical assistance and cooperation, at the bilateral, subregional and multilateral levels.
WGTC members agreed on the designation of Brazil as President and of Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic as Vice-presidents of the WGTC for the period 2011-2014. UNCTAD would act as a Technical Secretariat whereas SELA Permanent Secretariat would act as Executive Secretariat.
In order to engage member countries into the substantive work of the WGTC, four Sub-working groups were established, which would be led by different member countries, on the following issues:
1. Enforcement of trade and competition rules, capacity building and advocacy (México)
2. Legal instruments involving competition and bilateral, regional and multilateral trade (Chile)
3. Consultations on competition and trade policies (Jamaica)
4. Research and sector studies (Panamá)
During that year, it was decided that Subgroups 1 and 3 would be encouraged to participate more actively during the period 2012-2013, as it was thought that the simultaneous work of the four subgroups would put too much of a burden on member countries. Thus, Subgroups 2 and 4 have been working on two questionnaires that were agreed upon and circulated to all SELA competition and trade authorities. The questionnaires deal with: Coherence between Trade and Competition Policies; and Competition and Trade issues in the Health Sector. The Subgroups’ leaders presented a report on the findings during the Second Annual Meeting of SELA‘s WGTC to be held in Lima, Peru, on the 18th and 19th of June 2012 (back-to-back with the Third COMPAL Annual Conference on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June 2012).
Please see: Presentations of the II Annual Meeting of the Working Group on Trade and Competition (Lima, 18-19 June 2012) - NEW!
UNCTAD-SELA Working Group on Trade and Competition (WGTC)
2.- Strengthened capacity of regional bodies for an effective application and enforcement of competition at regional level
S2) Preparation of regional studies on the challenges that competition agencies face from openly competitive sectors affected by anticompetitive practices
3.- Strengthened regional legal frameworks on competition and consumer protection
Following the work of objective 2 (see above), COMPAL has become a forum for competition and consumer protection authorities to discuss issues of mutual interest. Annual Monitoring Meetings have developed into "Annual Conferences" where substantive issues are being shared among COMPAL member countries. The enlargement of COMPAL from 5 to 12 members has also reaffirmed this trend. COMPAL Programme is supported established network of competition authorities (i.e. Central American Group of Competition and the Andean Committee).
S3) Enhanced cooperation between competition agencies and related institutions