On November 22 the House of Representatives passed a bill approving a new competition law in Argentina (the "Bill"), set to replace Law 25,156 of 1999.
The Bill was referred on November 27 to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved soon. Once passed, the Executive will need to regulate the law within 60 business days. The launch of the public process to select the members of the new competition agency is set to commence within 30 business days of the enactment of the regulation.
The Bill will introduce sweeping changes in the current competition law regime in Argentina, among which we highlight the following:
NEW AGENCY AND SPECIALIZED COURT
A new independent agency, the Autoridad Nacional de Competencia (National Competition Authority, or "ANAC") will be created. The ANAC will be comprised by the Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia (Antitrust Tribunal), the Secretaría de Instrucción de Conductas Anticompetitivas (the Anticompetitive Conducts Trial Secretariat) and the Secretaría de Concentraciones Económicas (the Economic Concentrations Secretariat). The Tribunal will be comprised by five members of which two will be lawyers and two economics professionals and will have adjudicatory powers. On the other hand, both Secretariats will conduct the behavioural and merger control processes as the case may be and ultimately advice the Tribunal on the suggested course of action. The members of the Tribunal and the heads of the two Secretariats will be appointed through a public merit-based selection process, by a jury formed by representatives of the Government, the Attorney's General Office, and legal and economics academies. Appeals made in the city of Buenos Aires will be heard by a specialized competition law chamber within the Federal Civil and Commercial Court. MERGER CONTROL
Increased jurisdictional threshold of 100 million Unidades Móviles, a coefficient updated by the inflation index. The initial value of the Unidad Móvil is set at ARS 20 pesos. Accordingly, the new notification threshold as of the date of this newsletter would be of approximately USD 113.9 million, a very significant increase considering that the current threshold is of around USD 11.4 million. Likewise, increased thresholds for the de minimis asset/transaction value exemption, jumping from USD 1.1 million/ USD 3.4 million to USD 22.8 million / 68.4 million. Merger filings will be reported pre-closing. The change from the current post-closing...