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CSM, CSME! There has been a lot of heated discussion and hoopla on the call in programmes, editorials and news stories on the pros and cons of the establishment of the Caricom Single Market (CSM).

The Commission is doing its part to inform the public about the CSM as it relates to businesses competing in this wider regional market. On 3rd February 2006 (tonight), at 7:00pm, at the Hilton Hotel, the Commission will be hosting its 2nd Annual Lecture entitled “Size Does Matter :Competition Policy in Small States”. The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Michal S. Gal, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Law and the MBA Programme at the University of Haifa, Israel and a Global Hauser Professor at New York University’s Center for Law and Business

Dr. Gal is the author of “Competition Policy and Small Market Economies” and has won several academic awards for her research in Competition Law. Dr. Gal has served as an advisor to the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation in Development on competition related issues.

The lecture deals with the issue of competition policy in small states like those that make up Caricom. This is an occasion for all persons whether a professional, academic business leader, student or average consumer to increase their understanding and awareness in this area. Effective competition policy seeks to ensure that all businesses have the opportunity to participate equitably in the market and has the potential to generate substantial economic and social benefits to the consumer and the wider economy.

The lecture is therefore timely as with the official declaration of the CSM on Monday 30th January 2006 in Jamaica, businesses can expect greater levels of regional competition. However, increased competition will also create greater opportunities for competition abuses. It is important therefore that businesses be educated and informed about the importance of competition policy in promoting and maintaining healthy regional competition. The Community Competition Commission (CCC) under the Treaty of Chaguaramus has been charged with this task. The regional competition commission will review all potentially anti-competitive practices by companies operating in Caricom.

For example a Barbadian company which requires a company in Jamaica as a condition of doing business, to deal only with goods supplied by the Barbadian company or its nominee, would be engaging in the anti-competitive practice of exclusive dealing. The CCC will have the authority to prohibit such practices.

Under the CSM, all Caricom member states are required to enact fair competition legislation and establish the relevant institutions to enforce the legislation. Barbados and Jamaica have already met this obligation with the establishment of their respective Fair Trading Commissions. Other territories are working diligently towards meeting this requirement.

The legislation in each member states must adhere to a basic set of provisions set out in the Treaty. Each member state can incorporate additional provisions into their legislation as they deem appropriate. Barbados has chosen to include merger control provisions in its Competition Act. These provisions allow the Barbados Fair Trading Commission to review and investigate mergers which are likely to control more than 40% of any market. Pursuant to these provisions, on December 19th 2005 the Commission gave its approval for the merger of Digicel (Barbados) Limited and Cellular Communications SRL (Cingular Wireless). Approval was granted subject to particular commitments by Digicel to maintain economic prices and standards of service. On the other hand, Jamaica’s legislation which was enacted in 1993 does not include merger control provisions. At this stage, other member states still in the process of developing their legislation are still debating whether merger control provisions should be included in their respective competition laws.

Some of the issues pertaining to the development and implementation of an effective competition policy in small states will be addressed in more detail by Dr. Gal in her lecture tonight at the Hilton Hotel.

If you have any queries with regard to fair competition, utility regulation or consumer protection please contact the Commission at 424-0260, 421-2FTC or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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