Panama: Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition Defence
Panama
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Panama: Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition Defence

Panama: Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition Defence

Panama

Panama: from the enforcer

Address: Vía Fernández de Córdoba, Plaza Córdoba, Panama City, Panama PO Box Apartado 0816-01499, Panama
Tel: +507 510 1313
Website: www.acodeco.gob.pa

Questions and answers

How long is the head of agency’s term of office?

The term of office of the agency’s head is seven years, extendible for only one period.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

See above.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

None.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The agency’s annual budget for 2020 was US$10,301,794.

The annual budget of the National Direction of Free Competition is US$939,555.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

There are currently 38 members working in the National Directorate of Free Competition.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

The administrator of the agency reports to the Executive.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

No.

If so, how do these relate to your agency’s role?

Not applicable.

May politicians overrule or disregard authority’s decisions? If they have ever exercised this right, describe the most recent example.

No.

Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when your agency takes decisions?

No.

Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this? Has any competition decision by the agency been overturned?

The third court of the Supreme Court of Justice or the whole Supreme Court of Justice when constitutional matters are evaluated.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instance.

Yes, once. The concept in favour of the economic concentration of the only two beer companies in the country, Cerveceria Baru-Panamá, SA and Grupo Bavaria, SA, was denied.

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes, under conditions related to the scope of the non-competition clauses.

Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

When verifying economic concentrations, we do not distinguish between primary and secondary phases.

Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

No.

Do you operate a leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact? What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?

Yes, we have a leniency programme; applicants should contact the Authority

Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it? Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?

The Authority does not follow up penal conducts, but in the frame of its investigations, it informs the Public Ministry if considers that a penal conduct exists.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

Yes, we have plans to reform the competition law.

When did the last review of the law occur?

The last modification made to the Competition Law was in 2007 with Law 45 of 31 October 2007. In 2018, the aforementioned law was modified, but in terms of consumer protection.

Do you have a separate economics team? If so, please give details.

We do not have an independent team of economists.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

Yes, the Authority has conducted several dawn raids.

Have the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

No.

What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?

We do not have thresholds.

Are there any restrictions on investments that involve less than a majority stake in the business?

Restrictions do not exist.


Panama: from the enforcer's competition economists

Address: Vía Fernández de Córdoba, Plaza Córdoba, Panama City, Panama PO Box Apartado 0816-01499, Panama
Tel: +507 510 1313
Website: www.acodeco.gob.pa

Contacts

Jorge Quintero
Administrator of the Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition Defence
Tel: +507 5101393
Email: [email protected]

Marco Carrizo
National Director of Free Competition Defence
Tel: +507 5101364
Email: [email protected]

Joancy Chávez
Head of the Department of Competition Investigation
Tel: +507 5101365

Diosa Barahona
Head of the Department of Prices Information and Verification
Tel: +507 5101396
Email: [email protected]

Jovany Morales
Head of the Department of Analysis and Market Studies
Tel: +507 5101363
Email: [email protected]

Aaron Alexander
Head for International Affairs
Tel: +507 5101363
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

How many economists do you employ?

There are currently 10 economists working in the National Directorate of Free Competition.

Do you have a separate economics unit?

The Economic Analysis Unit works in conjunction with the competitor’s research team.

Do you have a chief economist?

Yes.

To whom does the chief economist report?

The chief economist report to the National Director of Free Competition.

Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?

No.

How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?

No.

Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?

Yes.

Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?

Yes.

How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?

No.

Organisation chart

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