On Monday, April 5, President Calderón presented to the Chamber of Deputies a 10-point proposal that targets monopolies, trusts, and other anti-competitive business in Mexico. The President stated that this legislation would help make Mexico more competitive as well as help consumers since 30% of households’ expenditures go to markets lacking in competition. The proposal would give the Federal Competition Commission (Comisión Federal de Competencia, Cofeco) greater oversight powers and restructure the agency to improve both its efficiency and transparency. One of these features involves introducing oral trials in which parties to the dispute will argue the matter before the Cofeco panel physically.
Importantly, the proposal would permit Cofeco to impose heavy penalties on companies or trusts that engage in monopolistic practices. Businesses that engage in “relative monopolistic practices” could be fined up to 8% of the revenue they receive from such practices. “Absolute monopolistic practices” could carry a fine up to 10% and a prison sentence of 3 to 10 years. The legislation would not affect state-owned monopolies like the petroleum company PEMEX (Petroleros Mexicanos). This point led Salomón Presburger Slovik, the President of the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico (Confederación de Cámaras Industriales de México), an interest group composed of dozens of associations and chambers in the industrial sector, to say that while the proposal is admirable, it does not go far enough in fostering competition since it does not address monopolistic practices by the state itself.