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JIS News

Executive Director of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), Barbara Lee has said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was currently in the process of designing a CARICOM Competition Statute in preparation for the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
She pointed out that Attorneys General of CARICOM member states along with representatives from competition agencies, such as the FTC, have been meeting “to discuss the statute and to examine it to see the extent to which it will be efficacious in competition enforcement in the region”.
Speaking with JIS News, the Executive Director pointed out that the statute would seek to address “uncompetitive conduct within the region and to regulate cross border issues between countries in CARICOM”.
Mrs. Lee explained that the Bill was based on Jamaica’s Fair Competition Act (FCA), especially as the island was recognised as the forerunner in competition policy throughout the region.
Explaining, she said that Jamaica and Barbados were the only CARICOM states that had a functioning competition agency, however, the latter only began operating this year. Jamaica’s FTC has been administering the FCA for the past ten years when the agency was set up in 1993.
She added that the FTC has been accommodating personnel from the Caribbean to assist them in setting up their own competition laws, while noting that Barbados had benefited greatly from the expertise available in Jamaica.
Commenting on the status of the other CARICOM territories in respect of competition laws, the Executive Director noted that Trinidad and Tobago and
St. Vincent had draft legislation, while Antigua, Barbuda and St. Kitts had sent representatives to Jamaica to examine the operations here.
“The aim is to have individual statutes designed in harmony with the CARICOM statute,” she pointed out.
The new Act will have a provision for the setting up of a CARICOM Competition Commission to administer the law. The Commission will be empowered to take appeals to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is being established as the final arbiter on matters relating to the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the enforcement of provisions under that agreement.
Mrs. Lee pointed out that no decision has yet been made as to the location of the CARICOM Competition Commission.
The FTC is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year under the theme “Competition for growth and development.”