The General Law for Competition Defense 42-08 (the "Law") is aimed to promote and protect effective competition to increase economic efficiency, thereby protecting consumers. It is applicable to every national or foreign economic agent engaging in economic activities in the territory of the Dominican Republic. It also covers agreements or conduct occurring outside of the Dominican Republic that has restrictive effects on competition in Dominican territory.
The Law was enacted on January 25th, 2008. However, two conditions must be met before it will come into effect. First, the Board of Directors of the National Commission for Competition Defense (the "Commission") must be appointed by the National Congress. Second, the Executive Director of the Commission must be appointed by the President of the Dominican Republic. The first condition has already been met and the second is expected to be completed shortly.
According to the Law, the Commission has powers to:
i. resolve conflicts within the scope of the Law both between enterprises and between enterprises and their customers;
ii. issue regulatory resolutions to: a) set forth procedural rules applicable to proceedings before the Commission; b) set out certain dispositions that agents subject to the Law are obligated to comply with, and c) regulate the administrative-institutional functioning of the Commission.
iii. give public opinions of a non-binding nature when requested to by the regulators of regulated markets;
iv. propose to the President of the Dominican Republic the national policies for competition advocacy, particularly those measures and actions aimed at facilitating the entry of new competitors into Dominican markets (such as the modernization of public administration);
v. foster a culture of competition in the Dominican Republic, including recommendations to simplify administrative proceedings before the government and municipal authorities (in order to prevent bureaucracy becoming a barrier to market entry); and
vi. recommend the adoption of corrective measures to avoid laws, regulations and other legal acts whose object or effect is to hamper or undermine freedom of enterprise or competition.
Some procedural attributions of the Commission are as follows:
i. initiate administrative proceedings in respect of alleged breaches of the Law upon the request of a private party or on its own motion;
ii. impose sanctions (including fines and binding obligations) for breaches of the Law;