UNCTAD and the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) delivered the First COMPAL training workshop to competition case handlers of the newly established Competition Authority of Ecuador. As a side activity, an academic event was organised with a Public University of Ecuador in order to raise awareness of the development role of the competition authority including the experiences of Spain, Brazil and Mexico.
The ad-hoc training workshop was structured following the contents of the UNCTAD Manual on Investigation Techniques in competition cases, which includes chapters on investigation, cartel case initiation, among other issues. The round table discussion was moderated by UNCTAD with questions and answers to Brazilian, Mexican and Spanish experts. The topics of the meeting were designed upon the structure of article 11 and 12 of the Ecuadorian Competition Law and take stock of the elements of infringement. One of the issues that was made clear in the two-day workshop is the important coordination and team work between economists and lawyers of the Competition Authority, particularly when it comes to the law of evidence and standard of proof that should be observed in all instances of the administrative proceeding in enforcement actions. This should be the basis for a right approach to ensure that Courts will uphold the rulings of the competition rulings in the judicial review of competition cases.
The enforcers of the new authority requested UNCTAD to organise a second training workshop taking into account the following actions: Upon the result of the internal survey, the authority will suggest a more comprehensive training plan for Competition Case handlers for 2013. The topics addressed to include more economic analysis and case law from Latin American jurisdictions, in particular Andean countries, such as Colombia and Peru. Additional insights regarding the experience of the COMPAL Sectoral in-depth studies that could be of relevance to Ecuador's current situation. The Ecuadorian Competition Authority requests UNCTAD to provide support in adapating the UNCTAD Manual on investigation techniques to Ecuadorian laws, similar to the Nicaraguan case within the framework of COMPAL II Programme. The Ecuadorian Competition Authority requests UNCTAD to substantially support the next national forum on the impact of bid rigging to government budget expenditures, which will take place in Cuenca, Ecuador from 29 to 30 January 2013. Work with the Judiciary will be also part of the plan of action with the Competition Authority and UNCTAD as part of the ongoing cooperation under the COMPAL programme.