COMPAL stands for "Competition and Consumer Protection for Latin America". The executing agency of this Programme is UNCTAD Competiton and Consumer Policies Branch, particularly, the COMPAL team in Geneva.
The tangible results obtained by this UNCTAD-led programme in assisting its beneficiary countries are:
- Promotion of cross-country experiences,
- Preparation of sectoral studies,
- Preparation of policy recommendations,
- Training activities.
UNCTAD extensive contacts and thematic networks developed throughout Latin America increases the likelihood that in case of any problem (e.g. high turnover in competition and consumer protection agencies, changes regarding consultancy assignment), measures will be adopted accordingly. Moreover, UNCTAD has promoted the use of the Spanish language as a basis for communications at the level of the Programme Management Committee (PMC), documentation and reporting of the activities. UNCTAD provides communications in English to international stakeholders.
Currently the programme is being implemented under the framework of COMPAL II which started on 17 March 2009:
The new strategy of COMPAL II is already in place with a view of maximizing the impact of the implemented COMPAL I activities.
As of May 2009, UNCTAD has been refining the work programmes submitted by the beneficiary countries as well as preparing together with the national focal points the detailed terms of reference. In this regard, UNCTAD has been given priority to these deepening activities by using its task force established for this purpose.
In addition, during an official visit of UNCTAD in Venezuela during April 2009, a Regional Seminar was organized with the ongoing cooperation of SELA (Latin American Integration System). The seminar discussed competition and trade policy as well as issues which stand at the crossroads between trade and competition, reviewed existing regional initiatives so as to handle Trade and Competition matters -including international agreements - and recommended a set of measures that can be taken to support Latin America and the Caribbean in their integration efforts. The Seminar built on previous work carried out by UNCTAD on "Competition Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements" and its capacity building extended to Latin American countries under the COMPAL Programme. Discussions were focused on the current financial and economic crisis and its implication for regional cooperation on competition policy among Latin American and Caribbean countries. The recommendations emanating from the Seminar involve a challenging agenda for UNCTAD - SELA work on strengthening trade and competition with the aim of proposing a Trade and Competition work programme for the Latin American and Caribbean regions.
The way forward for COMPAL II developments are in order:
The insertion of new Latin American countries in the COMPAL Platform.
- Ongoing dissemination of COMPAL in various regional fora, including the Central American Competition Group and the OECD/IDB Latin American Fora which meets every year in a Latin American location. UNCTAD also works closely with ALADI, Andean Community, CARICOM, ECLAC, SELA and SIECA.
- Latin American countries that are more advanced in the field of competition, such as Brazil and Mexico, have offered to partner with some of COMPAL activities. The proposal is currently under preparation.
- Preparations for the participation of Latin American and Caribbean countries in the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy (carried out every year in Geneva).
- In accordance to paragraph 104 (e) and (g) of the Accra Accord, UNCTAD is launching the AFRICOMP regional programme on Competition Law and Policy for African Countries drawing on the experience of UNCTAD's technical assistance to Latin American countries under the COMPAL Programme.
The future UNCTAD Latin American and Caribbean agenda for action on competition and consumer policy include support to countries and regional initiatives.