Competition Defense Law In Argentina

Author:Mr Mario Eduardo Castro Sammartino
Profession:Castro Sammartino & Pierini
 
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On May 15, 2018, the Argentine Federal Government published in the Official Gazette the new Competition Defense Law in Argentina, Law Number 27,4421 (Ley de Defensa de la Competencia or LDC by its Spanish acronym), adjourning the local legislation and aligning it with international standards2. The LDC has already been regulated by Decree Number 480/2018.

The main features of the current piece of legislation are:

  1. A new enforcing authority - decentralized and self-governing - will be created: the National Competition Authority, comprised of the Defense of Competition Court, the Secretariat of Anticompetitive Practices and the Secretariat of Economic Concentrations;

  2. The LDC prohibits the agreements between competitors, the economic concentrations, the acts or behaviors, in any way manifested, related to the production and exchange of goods or services (LDC, Article Number 1, first paragraph, first sentence), and the achievement of competitively significant advantages by infringing other legal provisions (LDC, Article Number 1, second paragraph), that have the object or effect of limiting, restricting, distorting or disrupting competition or access to the market, or that constitute abuse of a dominant position3 in a market, in all cases to the extent that it may result in damage to the general economic interest (LDC, Article Number 1, first paragraph, first sentence).

    The LDC sets out specific hard-core cartel conducts as outright unlawful, without any further analysis4.

    Further, the LDC also sets forth a lengthy and non-exhaustive list of practices that may be deemed as anti-competitive as long as they have the object or effect of limiting, restricting, distorting or disrupting competition or access to the market, or constitute abuse of a dominant position in a market, to the extent that it may result in damage to the general economic interest5.

  3. A pre-closing obligation to notify and ask for approval of economic concentration transactions6 exceeding certain thresholds7;

  4. Tougher sanctions for anti-competitive practices and prohibited economic concentrations8;

  5. Additionally to the sanctions provided for by the LDC, the individual or companies affected by the acts or conducts prohibited by the LDC may seek financial redress before the ordinary courts of justice. The Civil and Commercial Code of the Nation prohibits the abuse of a dominant position in the market (Article Number 11), and this practice may result in civil liabilities, like...

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