Competition authority in the making for St. Maarten

POSTED: 03/25/13 12:59 PM

St. Maarten – Based on the outcome of a feasibility study the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications has commissioned the Social Economic Research Institute SEO affiliated with the University of Amsterdam to develop a competition act, as well as a competition authority policy and an implementation plan to legalize the competition authority.

The competition authority policy is scheduled to be completed by May, the draft legislation and the implementation plan by July.

More and more countries are implementing competition acts and establishing a competition authority. Examples in the Caribbean region are Jamaica, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba.

On Thursday, the ministry and SEO-consultants drs. Koert van Buiren and drs.Cees van Gent made a presentation to the Council of Ministers.

Van Buiren and Van Gent consulted with all relevant internal and external stakeholders to gather information and feedback on the development of a local competition authority.

In 2011, an SEO feasibility study funded by Usona showed that St. Maarten is confronted with significant distortions to competition in several markets. These distortions increase the cost of living, decrease purchasing power, push up the cost of doing business and negatively affect the country’s international competitive position, in particular for international investors.

The competition authority’s objective is to function as an independent regulatory and monitoring supervisor for all business mergers, cartel formation and consumer protection.

The authority will oversee the prohibition of cartel agreements, abuse of dominant market positions, merger control regulation and consumer protection.

In addition, in light of the skyrocketing cost of living the government commissioned the Stichting Overheids Accountant Bureau Soab to review the margins of the basket of necessities and review the existing price regulation system. Soab should complete this study in May.

Both projects are geared to come with feasible solutions to provide relief to the population by increasing overall competition and decreasing the cost of living.

 

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