Background

The Latin American and Caribbean Working Group on Trade and Competition is a regional forum of trade and competition authorities. It was created in 2010 for regional cooperation, consultation and coordination in areas of converging interest in both areas.

Its organization and operations are mainly the responsibility of the Permanent Secretariat of SELA and the General Secretariat of UNCTAD, as Executive Secretariat and Technical Secretariat, respectively.

Its origin dates back to two regional seminars on trade and competition for the region held in April 2009 and May 2010, in Caracas and Brasilia, respectively, which resulted in the recommendation, to the Latin American Council of SELA, to form a Working Group on Trade and Competition for the region.

Thus, meetings have been held in Colombia (2011), Peru (2012), Argentina (2013), Dominican Republic (2014), Ecuador (2015), Honduras (2016), El Salvador (2017), Brazil (2018), Paraguay (2019).

Several topics have been addressed in order to consider opinions and experiences regarding: trade integration, public procurement, energy and hydrocarbon markets, institutional capacity building, competition policy in the telecommunications sector, benefits of competition policy in providing goods and services, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), trade facilitation, intellectual property, harmonization and convergence in regulatory frameworks, port infrastructure and services, etc.

During the ninth meeting of the CWGTC, the authorities requested that substantial issues related to e-commerce and the digital economy be addressed in greater depth.

Justification

The digital economy, and more specifically e-commerce, have accelerated with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world. Latin America and the Caribbean, regions greatly affected by this health emergency, have shown progress in its race to insert and benefit from e-commerce. According to the IDB, the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world is that of the region (+37% by 2020).

Although the region has worked on building standards and materializing agreements within the framework of integration mechanisms in recent years, it is necessary to insist on strengthening the regional digital ecosystem to reduce the persistent gaps in digital commerce.

Objectives
  1. To present an overview of e-commerce and digital economy in the region, in the aftermath of the pandemic and its impact on the economic recovery process.
  2. To identify the strengths and weaknesses faced by the region with the purpose of boosting dynamism.
  3. To provide a space for discussion and learning of best practices in the regulation and promotion of e-commerce and the digital economy in the region.
Agenda

Venue: Facilities of the Central Bank of Paraguay

October 20, 2022

Morning
9:00 – 9:30

Inaugural Session

  • Rolando Díaz, President, National Competition Commission - CONACOM, Paraguay.
  • Representative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD.
  • Clarems Endara, Permanent Secretary, Latin American and Caribbean Economic System- SELA.
  • Representative of the Government of Paraguay
9:30 – 10:40

Session I.
Diagnosis of the challenges and opportunities of e-commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean after the pandemic

Moderator: Pedro Mancuello, Vice-Minister of Trade and Services, Ministry of Trade, Paraguay

  • INTAL representative. Impact and evolution of electronic commerce in LAC.
  • ECLAC representative. Regulation of electronic commerce: implications and considerations for LAC.

Comments & Questions

 
10:40 – 10:50 Break

10:50 – 12:30

Session I. continuation
National and regional experiences on e-commerce promotion

Moderator: Pedro Mancuello, Vice-Minister of Trade and Services, Ministry of Trade, Paraguay 

  • Trade Promotion Agency
  • Secretariat of Economy of Mexico
  • SIECA

Comments & Questions

12:30 – 2:00 Break - Lunch
Afternoon  
2:00 – 3:30

Session II.
Digital platforms, e-commerce and MSMEs. Recommendations for best practices

Moderator: CONACOM

  • The interaction between Digital Platforms and MSMEs. Recommendations for best practices. Juan Luis Crucelegui. Head of Capacity Building and Advisory Services, Competition and Consumer Policy Department, UNCTAD.
  • Trends and benefits of e-commerce for MSMEs in LAC: Paraguayan Chamber of E-Commerce
    • Center for the Analysis and Dissemination of the Paraguayan Economy (CADEP)
    • Association of SMEs, MSMEs, and Entrepreneurship for E-commerce (Appce), Colombia.
3:30 – 4:00 Open round of interventions for LAC trade and competition agencies and MSME sector
   

October 21, 2022

Morning  
9:30 – 10:15

The digitalization of the economy in Latin America: benefits and risks for competition.

Moderator: Juan Luis Crucelegui. Head of Capacity Building and Advisory Services, Competition and Consumer Policy Department, UNCTAD.

 
  • CAF Representative
  • Enrique Vergara, lawyer, academic, former head of the National Economic Prosecutor's Office and of the Chilean Court for the Defense of Free Competition.
10:15 – 10:25 Break

10:25 – 11:30

Forum I

Roundtable moderated by a representative of UNCTAD with four representatives of competition authorities from the region who will address different aspects of this topic. In particular:

  • The definition of the relevant market in the digital economy: aspects to take into consideration.
  • The exercise of market power by digital platforms.
  • The complexity of merger control in digital markets.
  • The need to establish a specific regulation to complement competition rules.
 

Question & answer session

12:30 – 2:00

Break - Lunch

Afternoon

 

2:00 – 3:45

Presentation of practical cases handled by the authorities in the field of digital economy and e-commerce.

Moderator: Rolando Diaz, President of CONACOM.

 
  • Case study, Andean region representative
  • Case study, Caribbean representative
  • Case study, Central America representative
  • Case study, South America representative
3:45 – 4:15

Proposed theme and venue for the 11th meeting of the WGCC in 2023

4:15 – 4:30

Closing

  • Representative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD
  • Representative of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System - SELA
  • Representative of the National Competition Commission - CONACOM
  • Representative of the Government of Paraguay