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CARICOM Competition Commission Celebrating 15 Years of Regional Service


The CARICOM Competition Commission (“CCC”) is established under Article 171 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Located in Paramaribo, Suriname, the CCC is one of the key institutions to support the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), ensuring that the aim of implementing the Single Market is not frustrated by cross-border anti-competitive business conduct. 

The CCC was inaugurated in January 2008, and over the years has sought to strengthen the competition and consumer cultures in the CSME through its enforcement of Community Competition Policy, competition and consumer advocacy initiatives, and technical assistance in competition law and consumer protection policy to CSME Member States. 

In 2010, the CCC launched its first cross-border investigation based on a complaint submitted by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) under Article 175 (2) RTC. Since then, it has continued to monitor and assess cross-border business transactions or conduct with cross-border effects, providing recommendations on strengthening competition in the relevant markets to the CSME Member States affected by the transactions, where necessary.  

The CCC believes that a vibrant regional competition and consumer culture is critical to the success of the CSME and over the years, through capacity building, knowledge diffusion, has: 

  1. Hosted its first Regional Essay Competition for Secondary Schools in 2019 for two age categories: 12-15 and 16-19, with sponsorship by UNICEF (Suriname). 
  1. Successfully launched its first online introductory courses on competition law and consumer protection law and policy in the CSME in May 2023, for continuous training of CSME officials, with sponsorship from the Commonwealth Secretariat in the latter. 
  1. Commenced advocacy sensitisation of CSME Member States’ Bar Associations in 2021 and continuing. 
  1. Conducted in-country sensitisation workshops in competition law and policy for CSME Members including public and private officials, parliamentarians, and sector regulators, such as under the 9th and 10th EDF Capacity Building Project commencing in 2009. 
  1. Partnered with the United States Federal Trade Commission (US FTC) in 2019, in the delivery of a three-day training workshop for competition case handlers in the Region on merger assessments and commenced a targeted training initiative for the OECS, hosted by the government of Grenada. 
  1. Partnered with the US Department of Justice and the Barbados Fair Trade Commission to deliver training to competition Commissioners and senior public officials in the Region in 2019. 
  1. Collaborated with Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in competition and consumer advocacy for CSME telecommunications officials on issues in the digital economy and consumer protection in 2023.  

It has increased its market monitoring and surveillance, with the following key successes: 

  1. Published its first “State of Competition Enforcement Report for the period 2019–2021”, which shows that, despite having only four Member States with competition legislation, competition enforcement and advocacy in the CSME by the CCC and its national commission counterparts remain vibrant through anti-competitive business conduct investigations, merger transactions reviews, market studies and competition advocacy activities aimed at sensitising stakeholders about competition law and policy. 
  1. Published the first regional “Report on Food Prices during the Covid-19 Pandemic”, which explored how food prices for a regional “basket of goods” moved in a sample of 12 CSME Member States from 2019 to 2021 through the Commission’s COVID-19 Steering Committee. 
  1. Published “Flying to the Future – a Study on the Consumer Side of the CSME air transportation industry”, which examines the experiences of a sample of airline customers within the region in obtaining refunds from airlines arising out of the cancellations of flights during the early stages of the pandemic. 

Technical assistance remains a strong pillar of the CCC’s operations over its 15-year existence, taking several forms, such as policy review and development and collaboration with other regional and international partners in the CSME. CCC continues to assist Governments by the review and advice on their proposed competition and consumer legislation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CXC in 2023, aimed at deepening secondary school students’ understanding of competition and consumer protection law. 

To better enable the CCC to meet its Treaty mandate, CCC developed its first three-year strategic plan in 2020 to increase the transparency and effectiveness of its operations, with the second plan under development for 2024.  

The CCC remains committed to serving the regional public by improving the execution of its mandate under the Treaty. As part of the Reconvened Task Force on Competition Law, CCC developed a policy paper in 2020 on CCC serving as both regional and national competition authority for CSME Member States without competition institutional arrangements and provided technical assistance for Community competition policy in the area of mergers from 2019 to 2022. 

As the institution celebrates its 15th anniversary, it takes pride in the strides it has made to ensure fair competition and consumer protection in the CSME. 

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