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Inventory of Domestic Laws and Regulations Relating to
Competition Policy in the Western Hemisphere

Submitted by the OAS Trade Unit to the FTAA Working Group on Competition Policies

II. Objectives of the Law


To ensure the proper functioning of the markets, guarantee free competition, and punish behavior that limits, restricts, or distorts competition or takes improper advantage of a market position to the detriment of the public interest. (Explanation of intent of the Law for the Defense of Competition.


The economic structure shall be in harmony with principles of social justice with a view to ensuring that all residents enjoy a humane standard of living (Constitution, Article 132)

To stimulate and guarantee national and foreign investment to promote growth and economic and social development (Law on Foreign Investment, Article 1).

To regulate, control, and monitor activities in the telecommunications, electric, energy, transportation and water sectors, as well as others that are included in the System by law. To ensure that they operate efficiently, contribute to the country's development, provide service to all, while enjoying the effective protection provided in this law as they pursue the public interest. (Sectoral Regulation System Law, Article 1).


To prevent and prosecute infractions against the economic order as a means of promoting free competition and free enterprise.


The purpose of this Act is to maintain and encourage competition in Canada in order to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy, in order to expand opportunities for Canadian participation in world markets while at the same time recognizing the role of foreign competition in Canada, in order to ensure that small and medium-sized entreprises have an equitable opportunity to participate in the Canadian economy and in order to provide consumers with competitive prices and product choices. (Section 1.1).


The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce shall perform the following duties: 1. Ensure that the provisions on the promotion of competition and restrictive business practices are complied with throughout the domestic market .... in order to accomplish, among others, the following goals: improve the efficiency of the national productive system; ensure that consummers are free to choose goods and services and have access to the markets; ensure that firms may participate freely in the market; and ensure that there is a variety of prices and qualities of gods and services in the market. (Article 2 (1) of Decree No. 2153/92).

Costa Rica

The law establishes that its objectives are:
a. Effectively protect the rights and legitimate interests of the consumer;
b. Monitoring and promotion of the process of competition and free enterprise.

Article 1, referred to above, establishes the following objectives, with a view to achieving the purpose of promoting competition:
a. The prevention and prohibition of monopolies, monopolistic practices, and other restraints on efficient market operation;
b. The elimination of unnecessary regulations affecting business. (Article 1)


The law's objectives are:
1. That monopoly and monopolistic practices are contrary to wholesome and effective competition in market operation, because control of supply and demand makes it possible to set artificial prices against the best interest of the consumer.
2. That such activities do not encourage production; they protect inefficient producers or distributors; they lead to concentration of economic power and distort the market to the detriment of the community.
3. That it therefore is unnecessary to guarantee free competition if monopolies are prevented and monopolistic practices are severely punished. (Preamble of Decree Law No. 211).

Dominican Republic

To protect the exercise of free enterprise, trade, and industry; to prohibit monopolies of private corporations; and to authorize the state to retain authority to exercise certain economic and strategic activities. (Constitution, Article 8.12).

To impose penalties in cases where free enterprise or competition is threatened by acts of price-fixing, rumor-spreading, or collusion among business executives. (Criminal Code, Articles 419 and 420).

To protect consumers through a policy of price control for certain basic articles and services, and through measures to protect them against arrangements or conspiracy to set false prices. (Law No. 13 of 1963).


To prevent practices that lead to the excessive concentration of goods or means of production, and to prohibit monopolies and privileged relationships. (Articles 119 paragraph h) and 130 of the Constitution).

To penalize illegal actions that threaten injury to the national economy, or that involve monopolies and To regulate in matters relating to the freedom of contract and to unfair competition. (Articles 361 and 362 of the Commercial Code).

To regulate in matters relating to the freedom of contract and to unfair competition. (Articles 361 and 362 of the Commercial Code).


To provide for the maintenance and encourage-ment of competition in the conduct of trade, business and in the supply of services in Jamaica with a view to providing consumers with competitive prices and product choices. (Preamble of the Fair Competition Act).


The Law is intended to protect the competitive process through the prevention and elimination of monopolies, anticompetitive practices and other restraints on the efficient operation of markets for goods and services. (Article 2).


The purpose of the Law is to protect and secure the process of free economic competition, eradicate monopolistic practices and other constraints on the efficient functioning of the markets for goods and services, and safeguard the greater interests of consumers. (Article 1).


This law seeks to eliminate monopolistic practices, controls, and restraints on free competition in the production and marketing of goods and the provision of services, so that free private enterprise can flourish for the greatest benefit of users and consumers. (Article 1).

United States

"The Sherman Act was designed to be a comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade. It rests on the premise that the unrestrained interaction of competitive forces will yield the best allocation of our economic resources, the lowest prices, the highest quality and the greatest material progress, while at the same time providing an environment conducive to the preservation of our democratic political and social institutions." (The Supreme Court, Northern Pacific Railway Co. v. United States, 356 U.S. 1, 4 (1958).

Other objectives have at times been expressed in earlier periods in the history of U.S. antitrust law enforcement: fairness, dispersion of economic power, and distribution of economic opportunities. A strong consensus currently exists, however, that promotion of economic efficiency and maximization of consumer welfare are the appropriate objectives of U.S. antitrust policy.


The objective of this Law is to promote and protect the exercise of free competition and the efficiency that benefits the producers and consumers; and to prohibit monopolistic and oligarchic practices and other means that could impede, restrict, falsify, or limit the enjoyment of economic freedom. (Article 1).

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