On September 1, 2017 the Curaçao Competition Ordinance came into force, creating new rules and regulations on fair trade. Our Newsletter of December 15, 2016 already outlined some of the details.
The ordinance entails new rules and regulations for entities and associations of entrepreneurs to improve fair trade. This is not only in the interest of the consumers, but also of the entrepreneurs themselves, since the intention is to create a playing field with equal opportunities. This should lead to fair trade. The new rules and regulations intend to increase competition, leading to lower consumer prices and an increase of innovation and therefore more quality of products and services.
The new ordinance is largely in line with European competition rules and deals with the main topics of competition law, i.e. cartels, abuse of dominance and mergers. It also deals with the independent supervisory body, the Fair Trade Authority Curaçao (link), including its investigative powers to observe compliance by market parties. The FTAC has the authority to investigate any suspected violation of the ordinance. It can request for specific documentation of entities. Also, the FTAC has the authority to search for information at the premises of the entity and to hear persons involved.
In the event the FTAC – based on its findings – is of the opinion a violation is committed it can, in certain circumstances, impose fines, penalties and/or binding instructions. Moreover, the FTAC can issue a fine to directors and/or (natural) persons that were factually in charge of the committed violation. The decisions of the FTAC will be published on its website. The ordinance also contains possibilities to object to a decision or to file an appeal.