JIS News

Minister of Industry, Commerce and Investment, Karl Samuda, has said that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) must protect those who bring to the market, innovation and talent that leads to true economic development.
Speaking at the 8th staging of the annual Shirley Playfair Lecture held on Thursday night (Sept. 20) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, the Minister said, “no foreign investment can thrive or be attracted by us in an environment of non-adherence to the basic rules of fair competition,” noting that the FTC is responsible for stimulating investment through lending that support and protection.
Pledging his support for the FTC, the national competition enforcement agency, Mr. Samuda said, “I bring to the table a promise to work hard and be as cooperative as possible as a good team player in keeping with the commitment of the new government to do so in all aspects of our administration”.
Israeli scholar, Dr. Michal Gal, who delivered the lecture entitled: ‘Competition Law Enforcement in Regional Trade Agreements’, said that “merger regulation is still absent in Jamaica”, adding that “it limits firms’ discretion to externally change market structures.”
Dr. Gal pointed out, “national competition law is often not sufficient to solve all the competition challenges faced” and went on to state that, “countries like Jamaica may lack sufficient resources to enforce competition laws or prosecute big offenders and the ability to create credible barriers to anti-competitive behaviour.”
She proffered that, “solutions are often found in bilateral and regional agreements” adding, “there have been a proliferation of these over the last two decades with NAFTA, AFTA and Mercursor being among at least 140 such in existence.”
In this context, Dr. Gal, who was addressing business scholars, consumers, corporate executives, public sector technocrats, among others, heralded the planned November 30 launch of the CARICOM Competition Commission as an important development for the region. However, she cautioned that, “given the new wave of competition law proliferation, we need to examine the motivation and whether the benefits justify the costs.”
“We have selected regional competition enforcement as the topic for our Shirley Playfair lecture this year because this is very topical now and very important to us in this region” said Executive Director of the FTC, Barbara Lee, in an earlier interview with JIS News.
She added that, “the launch of the CARICOM Competition Commission is a big event in the life of the region.”
“There will be a sensitization programme, where a team will travel to each member state educating the citizenry, based on provisions of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which gives us the mandate to get trading agreements effective throughout the region,” she explained.
Mrs. Lee told JIS News that Dr. Gal, who is from Haifa University in Israel, was chosen to deliver the lecture, because of “her strident views on how competition is to be enforced in small economies”.

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