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Guatemala: Importers deny collusion on fuel prices

 |  July 23, 2018

The Union of Hydrocarbon Importing Companies (GEIH) of Guatemala and its members have been charged in several instances by officials in the Congress of the Republic. This was followed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines launching an investigation through the General Directorate of Hydrocarbons against the four largest importers – Uno Guatemala, Uno Petrol, Puma, and Chevron – based on articles 36 and 37 of the Hydrocarbons Marketing Law, relating to coercive pricing and price-fixing agreements.

The GEIH president Juan Ángel Díaz commented that as late as one month ago each importing company responded to the MEM regarding the opening of investigation files, and among their arguments included that the similarity of prices (for the end consumer) was due to the natural parallelism of prices and not to agreements between the companies.

The GEIH’s lawyer, Marcos Palma, said that the cases opened against importers are likely going to be dismissed because, in their view, authorities rushed to open files and present charges based on complaints that arose (in Congress) but were not analyzed appropriately. He further repeated that the seeming coordination of prices is not the consequence of an agreement price fixing “by the economic agents, but is a consequence of market forces”.

The lawyers and officials interviewed agreed in considering a competition law for the country to be vital. While no such law yet exists, a bill is is now being discussed in Congress,

Full Content: Prensa Libre

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