The Federal Competition Law provides that a resolution granting a leniency applicant the maximum reduction in a fine for cartel activities cannot be contested through administrative or judicial procedures. However, the wording of the provision is confusing and some commentators have sought to interpret it as offering immunity from civil claims by third parties for damages and lost profits.
The Federal Competition Law provides that filing thresholds for transactions are calculated annually on the basis of the general minimum daily wage in Mexico City. In 2010 the filing thresholds are 4.85% higher, as the general minimum daily wage has been increased.
The federal courts have offered guidance on when an economic group can be considered a single economic agent. The 'economic group' concept provides that group members are jointly liable for illegal practices. However, the Federal Competition Commission has also sought to use the principle as a basis for requesting information from an entity in Mexico about other entities in its international group.
The Federal Competition Law and its regulations make provision for reductions in fines for cartel participants that come forward with information about such practices. The commission has indicated that it may fine a cartel participant the equivalent of the daily minimum wage - a negligible amount, given that the commission has the authority to impose a fine of up to 1.5 million times this amount.
The public and private sectors have expressed their desire to increase competition in the Mexican economy. In order to do so, the powers of the Federal Competition Commission need to be strengthened. Therefore, Senator Santiago Creel has presented a proposal to amend the Federal Law of Economic Competition.
Parties that are required to submit a full pre-merger filing to the Federal Competition Commission should try to provide all the information that the commission requires in their initial submission, as the review period does not begin to run until the commission's file is complete. In practice, this means carrying out a detailed analysis of the information to be submitted.
Mexico's competition filing thresholds and the filing fees payable to the Federal Competition Commission are determined according to the Federal Competition Law and the Federal Law on Government Rights, respectively. These figures have now been updated for 2009.
The Federal Competition Law provides that pre-merger filings are required if a transaction meets any of three monetary thresholds. However, certain exceptions apply to so-called 'risk-free' transactions, for which a post-closing notice is sufficient. One such exception applies to corporate reorganizations that meet certain requirements.
The Federal Competition Law imposes a waiting period of 10 business days on all transactions that are subject to pre-merger filing. During this period the Federal Competition Commission can issue a stop order to prevent the closure of the transaction, and usually does so if the parties’ activities overlap, regardless of whether this results in anti-competitive effects in the relevant market.
A transaction that meets any of the three filing thresholds established in Article 20 of the Federal Law of Economic Competition is subject to a mandatory pre-merger filing. However, the law recognizes that transactions which do not represent a competition risk should be cleared relatively quickly. The expedited review procedure has a number of advantages, but is subject to strict requirements.
The Federal Competition Commission has confirmed the appointment of two new directors of its Legal Affairs Department and Legal Procedures Department following the resignation of the previous incumbents. The appointees join the commission from the Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Mexico's permanent mission to the World Trade Organization.
The aim of the new amendments to the internal regulations of the Federal Competition Commission is to reorganize the commission's internal structure by creating, dividing and replacing several of its general operational and administrative directorates.
The Federal Competition Commission's leniency policy for participants in anti-competitive activities has been incorporated into law. It remains to be seen how its provisions granting anonymity to such participants will work in practice, and whether the implementing regulations will give such participants the legal certainty they need to come forward.
Amendments to the Competition Law introduced a new alternative procedure for the review of a transaction by the Federal Competition Commission. The normal procedure requires the commission to issue a resolution in 35 business days. However, a fast-track procedure may be requested for transactions which are subject to a notification requirement, but which do not raise competition concerns.
The recently approved amendments to the Federal Law on Economic Competition were published in the Official Gazette on June 28 2006 and became effective on June 29 2006. New regulations to the law should be issued within 180 days of the enactment of the amendments and published before the end of the year.
After months of lobbying by the Federal Competition Commission, the Mexican Congress has approved the anticipated amendments to the Federal Law on Economic Competition. The most significant amendments concern monopolistic practices, merger control, the commissions administrative procedure and the leniency policy.
For 59 years the Mexican government fixed prices in the liquid petroleum market, but in August 2000 it allowed the market to determine prices. However, price controls were re-established in March 2001. The Department of the Economy currently determines the price of liquid petroleum for the public, although it is hoped that the market might be left to establish prices itself in the second half of the year.
In December 2004 the Federal Competition Commission began an investigation into potentially anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry. The investigation is the result of a complaint filed by multinational company Roche-Syntek against Grupo Saba and Nadro, two pharmaceutical distributors that together enjoy a 60% market share.
The Federal Competition Commission is working on amendments to the Federal Economic Competition Law. These are likely to limit notification of concentrations where adverse consequences to the competitive process are genuinely possible. However, a simple increase in the notification thresholds will not be sufficient; rather, additional exceptions must be provided.
Parties involved in anti-competition proceedings or monopolistic practices investigations are permitted to propose conditions in order to address concerns of the Federal Competition Commission. The conditions must be of appropriate strength and must specify the term within which they must be met.