Despite all the bottlenecks faced in implementing competition law and policies (CLP) in Latin America, several countries have been able to organize competition regimes and establish effective competition agencies. Experience has shown that the adage "no one size fits all" holds true; each country adheres to its own agenda. Therefore, technical assistance (TA) entails a bottom-up progressive approach and reflects national priorities. At the outset of implementing a CLP in developing countries, it is worth keeping in mind certain questions: Will the new regulation represent an additional burden to the already-charged institutional setting, or will it be an additional rule capable of merging with the existing regulatory agenda? Can countries sign agreements that include competition provisions if they do not have a national law, and if the adoption of a competition law is conditioned upon accepting a package of economic reforms? Does CLP represent a requirement under a cooperation agreement? Is it possible to promote the non-efficiency goals of CLP, which include benefits for consumers and better living conditions for the poor? Based on UNCTAD research and TA, this article draws on (1) an UNCTAD program, Competencia América Latina (COMPAL), on strengthening competition and consumer protection in Latin America; and (2) research on implementing competition provisions in regional trade agreements. This article addresses some policy conclusions in the context of successful implementation of a CLP. It is imperative to continue advocacy programs to raise awareness among policymakers, public officials, local businessmen, pro-consumers, NGOs, and citizens. A TA program to strengthen CLP should be based primarily on local priorities. Once the factors addressing local needs are cemented in place, regional initiatives must be tackled. This depends heavily upon similarities between member countries and on the political will to cooperate.

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