Miguel Braun, Secretary of Commerce. Photo vi La Nación  

Ever notice how no matter how much you despise the smell of your laundry detergent you just can’t seem to find one for a decent price that doesn’t make your clothes smell like they’ve been thrown around a flower patch and then dunked in Clorox? Well that might be because laundry detergent is just one market that the government believes might be in the clutches of a monopoly.

The National Commission for Protection of Competition (CDNC) is ordering an investigation into 11 industries that it believes have developed unfair monopolies or that are using a dominant market position to take advantage of consumers.

The Ministry of Production just unveiled which industries will be examined and the list includes the following: laundry detergent, aluminum, steel, petrochemical, mobile communications, credit cards and electronic payments, oil, milk, meat, city ground transportation and air transport.

Commerce Secretary Miguel Bran and the president of the National Commission for Protection of Competition Esteban Greco are targeting these markets due to their alleged lack of competition.

Greco explained the importance of these investigations saying, “Good competition is a public good that must be defended and protected by the State with tools, technical capacity and decision-making ability.”

The third column depicts how many users use each communication service. Photo via La Nación
The third column depicts how many users use each communication service. Photo via La Nación

The investigations will evaluate the effect of the level of competition on the consumer and on production. The CDNC will check the possible existence of breaches of law and may lead to a proposal of norm modifications with the intention of improving the conditions of specified markets.

The CDNC will also be incorporating and examining international practices in competition by working with their counterpart in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission, and with specialists from the World Bank and Organization for the Cooperation of Economic Development (OECD).