Chapter 24: Competition Law Goals in Agricultural Markets: A Latin American Perspective
Juan David Gutiérrez Rodríguez* 11 1 INTRODUCTION Competition policy is not an isolated public policy and must interact with the state’s other economic policies. However, the principles underlying competition policies and agricultural policies may not always be compatible. On the one hand, agricultural policies may pursue a number of economic and non-economic objectives – e.g., the stability of agricultural goods’ prices; the stability of revenue for different agents in the production chain; the maintenance of a certain income level for rural households; the control of food prices; and/or to guarantee the country’s food security; amongst others. On the other hand, competition policies aim at promoting and maintaining freedom of competition and the efficiency of markets (allocative, productive and dynamic) and/or to maximize consumer welfare. In consequence, there are different situations where the government needs to solve the trade-offs that arise between the attainment of agricultural policy’s goals and competition policy’s objectives. For example, the stability of agricultural prices may require either command-and-control policies (that by definition rule out competition policies) or a certain degree of coordination between the agricultural market’s economic agents – interaction that otherwise would be deemed as an infringement to competition law. In this sense, governments must balance diverse policy schemes that reflect the view of different interests at stake, e.g., consumer welfare versus rural workers welfare or producer welfare versus retailer welfare. * Lawyer (University Javeriana, Bogotá). European Master in Law and Economics (University of Bologna and Erasmus University of Rotterdam). Professor of Competition Law at University...
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