Latin America has been going through substantial changes in the last year. Besides the social and political unrest seen in Chile and Bolivia in 2019, countries like Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay have seen the emergence of new leaders and political parties on to power. The election of a new President sometimes has a direct impact on the world of competition law enforcement. Unlike Brazil and Uruguay, where its competition authorities (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica, often referred to as CADE, in Brazil, and the Comisión de Promoción y Defensa de la Competencia, in Uruguay) have suffered no substantial changes as a result of the shift in government, the same was not true in Argentina. Less than two months after the new President of Argentina took office, the Decree 94/2020 dated January 22nd 2020 was issued, by means of which Mr. Rodrigo Luchinsky (an experienced corporate attorney) was appointed the new President of the Argentine Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia). The main challenge for the new Head of the Argentine competition watchdog, will be to fully enforce the provisions of the new Competition Law 27,442 issued in 2018, notably, in regards to the set up of the long-awaited National Competition Authority (Autoridad Nacional de la Competencia). Given that the authority will be autarkic and independent from government, it is expected that its incorporation would enhance the institutionality of competition laws in the medium and longer-run. Because of this, market agents such as lawyers and economists are closely following what the new authorities will be up to. Only time will tell whether Argentina could implement the infrastructure that is needed to take competition law practice in Argentina to a whole new level.
By Sebastián Ferreyra Romea