2012 was a milestone for competition policy in Brazil.
In May 2012, the new Competition Law took effect (Law No. 12,529 of 30 November 2011). The new legislation brought significant changes to the structure of the governmental agencies charged with competition enforcement. It also conveyed a staff and budget increase and newer and bigger facilities. It introduced a pre-merger control regime in Brazil and enabled the expansion of cartel and unilateral conduct enforcements.
The transition process was a huge challenge as well as a golden opportunity to bring the required changes to an effective competition enforcement policy.
The new pre-merger control was structured and enjoys an average of 19 days for fast-track proceedings under the new legislation.
Furthermore, a series of adjustments in CADE’s structure was taken to adapt to the new law. Those changes led to an improvement on both human and financial resource management, focusing on eliminating duplicate processes, shortening deadlines, modernising the legislation and giving more capacity to CADE. It included new internal regulations and procedures, besides the reduction of the backlog of cases.
In the international scenario, CADE hosted the 2012 ICN Annual Conference in Rio de Janeiro, with more than 500 registered participants and a record overall satisfaction of 90.32 per cent. The special project topic was devoted to ‘settlements’ and it gathered important input for changes to be implemented in Brazil during 2013. The event confirms CADE’s leadership role in a globalised competition world.
Indeed, 2012 represented a new era of antitrust enforcement in Brazil and it has placed CADE among the top competition agencies worldwide. Nonetheless, CADE can still improve in many ways, in order to continue to foster a stronger competition enforcement policy. For this reason, CADE is looking forward to receiving the extra 50 civil servants expected to arrive by early 2014. During 2013, a public exam (concours) will be launched by the Brazilian Ministry of Planning. Then, the selected people will undergo special training focused on public management. And, finally, they will be able to join different governmental bodies, including CADE. Again, this is expected to happen very soon and I hope to have their help by the beginning of next year. It is worth stressing that civil servants usually have a longer period at the organisation. As a result, the turnover is expected to be largely reduced, as well as a better training of newcomers. In addition, this may also have a positive impact for knowledge management, in particular for knowledge retention.
In order to achieve greater performance, we are still carrying out several adjustments. For instance, one area that we are currently working on – and in which people may expect changes – is new regulations. CADE has a team working on the update of our internal horizontal guidelines. This will be important to reflect all the important changes of our new pre-merger control. We also have a team working on vertical guidelines, which will be sent for public consultation prior to any final publication and application. I would like to take this opportunity to underline the importance of non-governmental input for this purpose. We received excellent input from organisations, such as IBRAC and the American and Brazilian Bars Associations, which enabled us to improve the draft of some regulations – the new regulation for cartel settlements, for instance.
Another aspect that I may highlight is the permanent effort to reduce the backlog of cases. This is an important step to assure time for better review – this applies for both the Tribunal and the General Superintendence.
We believe that the 2013 GCR Rating Enforcement – which gave CADE a four-star grade – is a positive and important feedback, in the sense that our work is going in the right direction. We intend to continue this way.