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Positioning Competition Policy in Chile: Outreach, Advocacy, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

Mario Ybar, Fernando Araya, Aug 13, 2012

Chile is one of the countries that have pioneered the introduction of market reforms since the end of the seventies. Market reforms have transformed the country's landscape in the last 35 years, together with increase in population, and have contributed to increases in per capita income. Competition policy has been an integral part of these reforms, the Competition Act being enacted in 1973.

Competition policy, as understood today by most jurisdictions, is served by two major tools: competition law enforcement and competition advocacy. The boundaries of the enforcement of competition law are relatively clear, since enforcement actions should abide by the principles of rule of law, due process guarantees, and so on. As to competition advocacy, the case is different. A competition policy not clearly and explicitly defined may mean different things to different people.

Thus, a major challenge of positioning competition policy is to promote a consensus around a conception of competition in each of the instances where such a conception is disputed; a consensus that defines certain benefits that can outweigh all the potential downsides of competition. Such a challenge, when the instruments used are those of outreach and advocacy, implies deploying efforts in segmenting audiences.

Considering different competition outreach and advocacy initiatives undertaken by the Fiscalía Nacional Económica ("FNE") in recent years, it appears that segmenting audiences has been crucial in all of them.

Following, we will briefly describe some of these initiatives with references to the target audience and the core message in each case. Short references to the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in order to avoid litigation costs, are addressed before the concluding remarks.

 

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