Antitrust law restricts Venezuela's access to Mercosur
The trade bloc requires free competition policies that Venezuela lacks
The Antitrust draft law endorsed by the Sub-Committee on Industries and Trade, National Assembly (AN), could become a stumbling bloc to Venezuela's final admittance to the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). This is the case if the legislature okays it as it is, according to lawyer Juan Manuel Raffalli.
The articles of the draft law do not contemplate a policy on preservation and promotion of free competition, a top requirement from Mercosur for any Member States.
In addition, article 3 of the Antitrust draft law excludes from the regulations any public enterprises "which carry out activities of a strategic nature for the country economic development in the national territory or linked to the production of essential goods or rendering of essential services." Nevertheless, the Mercosur agreement on competition includes them as stockholders.
In this regard, Raffali thinks that Venezuela may not seek membership with Mercosur as the State has a "huge" share in the domestic economy, competing with foreign companies of Mercosur Member States. In addition, it is exempted from the Antirust Law. "This will not be welcome," he asserted.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."