The Competition Policy Unit (CPU) is the competition protection, competition promotion and competition investigation arm of the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC). In its general sense the CPU exists to ensure compliance to the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA). The CPU’s role therefore is derived from the Competition and Fair Trading Act, the objectives of this Act are as follows:
Ultimately, the primary goal of Guyana’s competition law is interpreted by the CCAC as two-fold: (i) to protect the competitive process and (ii) to promote consumer welfare.
In its simplest form, competition can be thought of as intense rivalry among players that puts each of them under pressure to perform at their best. In relation to competition law, it is intense rivalry among market players or businesses that forces each to operate optimally. The more intense the rivalry among enterprises the greater the benefits that would accrue to:
In pursuance of the above mentioned goals the CCAC through its competition arm, seeks to curtail business strategies which when implemented have the effect of creating inefficiencies in the market and therefore lowered levels of consumer welfare. Market inefficiencies can manifest themselves as reduced production rates and slower production times, lower outputs and little recourse to product research and innovation. These inefficiencies can lead to higher price and low-quality products with little or no innovations.
Certain business arrangements / agreements between competitors and between producers and their suppliers and also certain unilateral decisions taken by an economically strong market player can result in market inefficiencies and therefore lowered levels of consumer welfare. Those activities of manufacturers, importers and retailers will therefore be closely monitored by the CPU.
In pursuance of its goal to protect the competitive process, the CCAC, through its competition arm, brings cases against infringing parties. The Commission can apply a range of pecuniary, punitive and injunctive remedies available to it to correct the behaviour of the infringing parties once found guilty.
Furthermore, to promote competition among market players the CPU employs advocacy initiatives and programs to encourage rivalry among firms, encourage a reduction or elimination of obstacles to firms gaining the ability to enter and remain profitably on a market, as well as lobby for the removal of government erected barriers or restrictions on trade.
More specifically, as the competition protection, promotion and investigation arm of the CCAC, the Competition Policy Unit discharges the following functions: