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The new authorities of the Argentine Antitrust Commission (the “Antitrust Commission”) released a report on the conclusions reached regarding the market investigation on credit cards.

The Antitrust Commission concluded that there is a lack of competition and transparency in such market, and consequently recommended, first, the opening of an investigation for abuse of dominant position and, secondly, different regulatory measures to promote competition in this market.

This market investigation is only one of the eleven market investigations initiated by the Antitrust Commission under its new leadership (other investigations include the meat market, the laundry soaps market, mobile telecommunications market and passenger transport market, among others), and shows the willingness of national authorities to use antitrust regulations to solve what they understand as competition problems in several relevant markets for consumers and the competitiveness of the Argentine economy.

These actions are part of a global strategy of the new national government to provide resources to this crucial administrative area. Among the next expected steps, it is included the drafting of an amendment to the National Antitrust Law, which will seek, among other things, to toughen the penalties for violations of the law and give the authorities more legal tools to fight against cartels (through the incorporation of benefits for informants).

Author

Esteban Rópolo is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Buenos Aires office. He was a professor in leading universities in Argentina — including University of Buenos Aires, Argentina Catholic University and Universidad del CEMA — where he taught political economy, foreign trade legal regime and private law. Mr. Rópolo has written a book on competition law and also contributed articles related to his areas of practice.