Substantial Reform Of Competition Law In Costa Rica

Author:Mr Uri Weinstok (BLP)
Profession:Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

On August 29, the Law for the Strengthening of the Competition Authorities was adopted in its second and final voting session. This Law aims to strengthen and improve the implementation of competition laws and policies by the Commission to Promote Competition (Coprocom) and the Superintendency of Telecommunications (SUTEL).

This is a very comprehensive reform, comprising virtually all the activities of competition authorities. The main reforms introduced by this Law are:

Merger control: Substantial reform of the pre-merger reviews and approvals. The main novelty is the creation of a two-stage procedure, which accelerates the approval of transactions, concentrating the efforts of the authority only on those that generate risks to competition.

In addition, it eliminates the possibility of notifying transactions post-closing, and establishes the obligation to suspend the execution of the deal until approval is obtained (prohibiting the so-called "gun jumping").

It also changes the way in which the notification thresholds are determined, as well as the legal assessment standard, to emphasize on the analysis of the effects of the transaction, and not only in whether the parties have market power.

Infractions and penalties: New infractions are added, including new monopolistic practices and violations for non-compliance with the procedural duties of undertakings. In addition, the amount of the fines substantially increased, setting the maximum fine at up to 10% of the company's revenue.

Also, those who promote or facilitate anti-competitive practices will also be punished, even if they do not participate in them. The fine is also increased for natural persons participating in prohibited practices (a fine that cannot be paid or guaranteed by the company).


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