By Julián Peña & Federico Rossi (Allende & Brea)1
Antitrust enforcement in Argentina has been going through changes in recent times and has continued to do so in the past few months. These include the new antitrust law passed in May 2018; a new economic crisis that also started in May 2018 but that has reached a new dimension since August 2019; a new government that has taken office in December 2019; the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020; and the full replacement of all of the antitrust authorities, including all of the members of the Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia (“CNDC”)2 that was completed in April 2020. These developments have all drastically reshaped the context in which antitrust law has been and will be enforced in Argentina.
Although Argentina has had modern antitrust laws since 1980 (a couple of anti-monopoly laws were approved in 1923 and 1946 without much application), its enforcement has been erratic over time. With the beginning of the Macri government in late 2015, there was a period in which the antitrust authority was given strong political and economic support that reached its peak with a new antitrust law No. 27,4423 (the “Antitrust Law”), which was approved by Congress in May 2018. Unfortunately, the day before the Congress gave its final approval to the Antitrust Law, a significant economic crisis hit, and the government decided to approach the International Monetary Fund for financ