Extraordinary measures are being taken by companies and governmental authorities to avoid aggravating the current situation and adapt quickly to the new operational and regulatory challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, economic competition law is still in force. This article discusses a series of considerations that companies should keep in mind to prevent potential competition risks relating to their behaviour or practices during the pandemic.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission's (COFECE's) board of commissioners recently fined two polyethylene glove providers for price fixing and bid rigging in the health sector. According to COFECE's resolution, the lack of competition in the bids for polyethylene gloves prevented lower acquisition prices, which affected the Mexican budget by approximately Ps42.28 million (approximately $1.7 million).
The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) has exclusive jurisdiction over cases, procurement and advocacy in competition matters relating to the broadcasting and telecoms sectors, while the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) has jurisdiction in competition matters regarding all other sectors. While this allocation of jurisdiction between the IFT and the COFECE may appear straightforward, in reality, there is no clear-cut division of powers with regard to digital markets.
In Mexico, some public institutions consolidate the procurement requirements of their entities into one public tender to save costs and increase efficiency. As such, joint propositions among competitors may be the solution for companies that wish to participate in such processes where they involve substantial volumes of goods. However, there are no official guidelines or criteria on how joint propositions between competitors should be negotiated or implemented so that they do not pose a risk to competition.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) recently issued a press release announcing that it had rejected Walmart's proposal to acquire Cornershop in light of the potential risks that it posed to competition and free market access. This case is significant as it is the first merger review case in which the COFECE has analysed vertical concentrations involving digital platforms.
All violations of attorney-client privilege are illegal, but the specific consequences will depend on the nature of the privileged information and the violation's potential effect on the plaintiff's defence strategy. In certain circumstances, a violation of attorney-client privilege can lead to a prohibition on prosecution due to procedural corruption. This article provides a number of practical tips for dealing with a violation of attorney-client privilege by the competition authorities.
In January 2019 the new government implemented several measures to counter and reduce gasoline and diesel theft, which generated fuel shortages in some of Mexico's main cities. To address these issues, the Federal Economic Competition Commission recently issued a follow-up to its 2016 recommendations which aimed to foster competition in the gasoline and diesel markets in order to address the new administration's concerns.
In 2017 the Federal Economic Competition Commission initiated an investigation into an unlawful concentration between Marzam – a major pharmaceutical product distributor in Mexico – and its main competitor, which had come to light following the release of the Panama Papers. However, before the investigation concluded, Moench Coöperatif (which had acquired control over Marzam) and one of its shareholders proposed a series of commitments in order to restore free competition in the pharmaceutical market.
In 2018 the Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) and the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) celebrated their 25th anniversary. Both authorities have made good progress in carrying out their various functions throughout the years and have been recognised globally for their positive effect on the country's economy. However, it will be interesting to see how the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement contributes to Mexican competition policy once implemented by the FECC and the IFT.
The Federal Competition Commission (FECC) recently issued its Competition Agenda for Public Procurement, in which it presented its findings regarding competition issues that can arise during the public procurement process. In the agenda, the FECC also proposed certain courses of action (both administrative and legislative) to promote effective competition in public procurement.
After two years of litigation, the First Collegiate Tribunal on Administrative Matters Specialised in Economic Competition, Broadcasting and Telecommunications has finally issued a final ruling acknowledging that the Federal Economic Competition Commission breached the attorney-client privilege principle during a dawn raid. The tribunal's ruling is relevant, as it demonstrates the possible outcomes of a violation of attorney-client privilege by the antitrust authorities.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) recently issued its Annual Working Plan. In it, the FECC recognised that one of its strategic goals is to communicate to economic agents how anti-competitive practices will be investigated and which actions agents may adopt to prevent potential risks. In particular, the FECC declared that one of its goals for 2017 would be to launch a project to develop guidelines for the analysis of collaboration agreements between competitors.
Corn tortillas are a fundamental source of nutrition for Mexican families, and artificial price increases have a significant effect on the consumer economy. Given the importance of the corn tortilla market, it has come under the scrutiny of several authorities – for example, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, which recently fined three individuals a total of Ps394,508 for the commission of an absolute monopolistic practice in the market for the production, distribution and marketing of corn tortillas.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) recently released a study on competition in the expired patent drug market, in which it analysed the level of competition in various drug markets following the expiry of an original drug's patent. According to the FECC, several obstacles to competition exist, which ultimately discourage possible new competitors from developing generic versions of drugs and entering the market.
The Specialised Competition Court recently annulled the Federal Economic Competition Commission's decision to revoke immunity granted during an antitrust procedure. The court's decision is relevant, as it sets the criteria for determining to what extent an economic agent can challenge the application of law in a specific case.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) investigative authority recently published a press release stating that it had, for the first time, requested the attorney general to initiate criminal action against persons involved in absolute monopolistic practices. This case constitutes an important landmark in Mexico's promotion of competition; the FECC and the attorney general will work closely to set a precedent that will safeguard the credibility of criminal penalties.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission recently issued its Annual Work Programme. The programme's initiatives largely focus on sectors of strategic importance to Mexico's economic and social interests and should encourage economic agents participating in these sectors to avoid monopolistic practices that may harm, impede or restrict competition.
The First Collegiate Tribunal on Administrative Matters Specialised in Economic Competition, Broadcasting and Telecommunications recently ordered the admission of a trial against the Federal Economic Competition Commission, whose representatives had obtained confidential documents protected by attorney-client privilege during a dawn raid. This is a landmark judgment, as it recognises attorney-client privilege and the attorney-client work product doctrine in an antitrust context for the first time.
Shortly after its establishment, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) sought feedback on where it should focus its attention in regards to enhancing competition. The results indicated that the pharmaceutical sector should be a priority, particularly regarding the sale of medicines to public health institutions and these institutions' IP rights. As such, in 2016 the FECC launched a series of activities relating to the pharmaceutical sector.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) recently revoked immunity granted to an undertaking involved in anti-competitive practice on the grounds that it had failed to fulfil its obligation to cooperate fully in all phases of the investigation. This is the first time that the FECC has revoked immunity and therefore sets an important precedent for undertakings that successfully receive immunity under the leniency programme.