Economy August 17, 2016 | 1:19 pm

Agency in charge of Competitiveness languishes without a director

Santo Domingo.- In its 2012-2016 government program, which concludedTuesday, to start his second term in office president Danilo Medina promised to"strengthen the newly created Pro Competition Commission, to promote theefficient functioning of markets and eliminate distortions and avoid abuses of adominant position."

But outlet diariolibre.com reports that attempts toinstitutionally strengthen that entity have stalled in the Senate StandingCommittee on Industry, Trade and Free Zones, headed by Charles Mariotti, wheresince 2013 have been stalled over two short lists to complete the board of theNational Competition Protection Commission (CNDC) and choose its director.

“In his program for his second term (2016-2020) who tookoffice yesterday, President Danilo Medina does not refer to the CNDC, althoughthe task is still pending.

Last March National Business Council (CONEP) president RafaelBlanco called the Competition Act "an indispensable tool to ensure freecompetition" and noted that though the Commission had yet to function, "to appoint its executivedirector has not been possible" which it affirms is "one of theessential requirements to take effect."

The statement responds to European Union ambassador AlbertoNavarro, who at the end of February criticized the country’s elite families,"owners of big business," who allegedly stymie more commercialcompetition.

The Competition Protection Law created the AntitrustCommission on January 16, 2008, but has yet to exercise its disciplinary roleagainst abuses and unfair cornering of markets.

The agency has nonetheless waged an intense effort topromote competition by training of staff on relations and cooperation withinternational partner organizations, and develops regulations and studies on economicsectors, where it detects unfair practices and abuses of market dominance.

During a visit to Pro-Competitiveness director Michelle Cohen in September 2014, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)Planning Competition Policy Office director Isa Tara Koslov stressed the advocacypractices for affected sectors with policies focused on industries.

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