Justification

In the dynamic and complex context of public procurement in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as a tool with transformative potential, capable of optimising efficiency, transparency and accountability in this crucial area for the economic and social development of the region. In turn, competition, as a fundamental principle of free and open markets, plays an essential role in promoting efficiency and the optimal allocation of resources in public procurement.

However, the adoption of AI in public procurement also poses challenges and risks that need to be carefully considered. Lack of transparency in algorithms, algorithmic discrimination, dependence on specific suppliers and concentration of power are some of the aspects that require attention and in-depth analysis.

In this context, this XII Annual Meeting of the Working Group on Trade and Competition (WGTC), focused on "Artificial intelligence (AI) and public procurement in LAC, a regional dialogue to strengthen competition," is intended as a space for meeting and collaboration among competition authorities, public procurement entities and AI experts to address the challenges and opportunities that AI offers in the context of public procurement in the region. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming various sectors of the economy, and public procurement is no exception. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), public procurement represents a significant share of public spending and plays a crucial role in promoting economic and social development. However, public procurement processes often face challenges related to lack of competition, procedural opacity and corruption.

It is essential to know the potential of AI to strengthen competition and transparency in public procurement in LAC. AI can help improve efficiency in procurement processes, promote greater equality of opportunity for suppliers and ensure a more efficient allocation of public resources.

Competition agencies in LAC play a vital role in this dialogue, as they are in charge of promoting and guaranteeing free competition in the markets. These agencies are responsible for investigating and sanctioning anti-competitive practices, as well as promoting policies and regulations that foster fair competition and ensure the protection of the public interest. In the specific context of public procurement, the fundamental role of competition agencies is to ensure that tendering processes are equally competitive and transparent for participating companies.

Objectives
  • Contribute to strengthening the understanding of the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on public procurement and competition in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
  • Identify the opportunities and challenges posed by AI to promote competition, efficiency and transparency in public procurement in LAC.
  • Design strategies and make relevant recommendations for the responsible and effective implementation of AI in public procurement in LAC, considering its impact on competition and transparency.
Participants

The meeting is aimed at focal points in the area of competition of the Member States of SELA and international and regional organisations, as well as experts in the field and special guests

Logistical aspects

Language: Spanish (with simultaneous interpretation into English)

Country: Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Venue: Clarion Hotel Real Tegucigalpa

Agenda
Day 1: Understanding the dynamics of public procurement, competition and artificial intelligence (open to the public)

 

08:30 – 09:20
10 min. each

Opening of the XII Meeting of the Working Group on Trade and Competition in Latin America and the Caribbean (WGTC).

  • Representative of SELA
  • Representative of UN Trade and Development
  • Representative of CDPC Honduras
  • Honduran Authority (Executive and Legislative)
 
09:20 – 10:00
20 min each

Initial conference: interaction of competition policy in public procurement: international best practices

  • William Kovacic. Professor at George Washington University Law School. 
    To be defined.
 
10:00 – 10:10 First break

 
XII Meeting of the Working Group on Trade and Competition in Latin America and the Caribbean. Artificial intelligence (AI) and public procurement in LAC, a regional dialogue to strengthen competition

 
10:10 – 10:20

Presentation of publications in the field of competition

  • Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA).
 

10:20 – 12:00
20 min. each

Session 1. Innovating public procurement: challenges, regulations and the digital revolution.
Moderator/Panelist: Authority responsible for public procurement in Honduras.

  • Juan Pablo Herrera Saavedra. Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Universidad Externado de Colombia.
  • Natalia Tanno. Professor of Public Procurement. Judge of First Instance in Administrative, Tax and Consumer Relations of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires
  • Krisztián Katona. Vice President of Global Competition and Regulatory Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
  • Janar Adikova. Director of Policy Competition and Public Procurement Department of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
    To be defined.

Purpose of the session: To answer the following question: How are emerging technologies and modern methodologies changing the public procurement landscape towards more efficient and transparent processes? The role of equity in ensuring that access to procurement opportunities is fair and inclusive for all bidders will be discussed. It will also emphasize the importance of promoting healthy competition, which is not only essential to obtain value for public money but also to stimulate innovation and quality.

 
12:00 – 12:15 Questions and comments

 
12:15 – 01:30 Lunch

 

01:30 – 03:20
20 min each

Session 2. Overview of artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications in public procurement. Benefits and challenges.
Moderator/Panelist:    Armando Guío. Executive Director in Global Network of Internet & Society Centers. Affiliate in Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

  • Víctor Muñoz, Expert in Telecommunications, Berkman Klein Center.
  • Luis Alejandro Henríquez. President of the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI).
  • María Pilar Canedo. Senior Export of the Organization for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD)
  • CAF – Bank of development of Latin American and the Caribbean.

Purpose of the session: To provide an overview of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in public procurement. The possibilities and benefits that AI can offer in the management of procurement processes, such as task automation, data analysis and more informed decision making, will be analyzed. In addition, the ethical and privacy challenges associated with the use of AI in this field will be discussed.

 
03:20 – 03:30 Questions and comments

 
03:30 – 03:45 Second break

 

03:45 – 05:45
20 min each

Session 3. Regulation of AI in public procurement: promoting fair competition and transparency.
Moderator/Panelist: To be announced.

  • Alexandre Ditzel Faraco. Lawyer specialized in competition.
  • Pablo Schiavi. Lawyer and Professor at Montevideo Law School. (virtual)
  • Inter-American Public Procurement Network (REDCA)
    To be defined.

Purpose of the session: To answer the following question: How to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in the context of public procurement and contracting, with the aim of promoting fair competition and ensuring transparency in such processes?

 
05:45 – 05:55 Questions and comments

 
05:55 – 06:00 Official photo

 
Day 2: Integrating artificial intelligence in public procurement (closed event)

 

08:30 – 09:50
20 min each

Session 4. Competition policy in public procurement: the fight against bid rigging and corruption.
Moderator/Panelist: CDPC of Honduras

  • Alfonso Miranda Londoño. Lawyer and Director of CEDEC, Colombia (*)
  • Alejandro Ibarra. Associate of the Competition Law Center, George Washington University.
  • Felipe Serrano. Director of the Centre for Competition
  • Fernando Cachafeiro. Titular Professor of Mercantile Law at Universidad de A Coruña.

Purpose of the session: Given the crucial importance of the fight against collusive practices and corruption to ensure a level playing field and promote efficiency in procurement processes, we will explore various aspects, such as the prevention of bid rigging, the promotion of the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, the objective evaluation of bids and the optimization of public resources. The aim is to provide an overview and guidance in order to understand the challenges and opportunities related to this policy.

 
09:50 – 10:00 Questions and comments

 
10:00 – 10:10 First break

 

10:10 – 12:10
20 min each

Session 5. The use of AI in competition policy: new tools at the disposal of competition authorities.
Moderator: SELA

  • Jorge Eiriz, Lawyer of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC).
  • Rubem Accioly Pires, Chief of the Intelligence Unit CADE-Brazil.
  • SIC-Colombia. (*)
  • Constanza Castelblanco, Chief of the Auditing Division FNE-Chile.
  • Carlos García Cueva, General Director of Market Intelligence COFECE-Mexico.

Purpose of the session: A comprehensive overview of developments in competition agencies and AI will be provided, presenting case studies, research and relevant discussions to better understand the advances and challenges in these areas and how they impact on general society.

 
12:10 – 12:30 Questions and comments

 
12:30 – 02:00 Lunch

 

02:00 – 04:00
15 min each

Session 6. Case studies provided by the Member States, examples of successful implementation of competition policy in public procurement.
Moderator: UN Trade & Development.

  • María Elena Vasquez, President of
  • Superintendency of Competition (SC) -El Salvador.
  • Carolina Lozano, General Intendent of the Superintendency of Economic Competition (SCE) – Ecuador.
  • Vladimir Díaz, Lawyer, Department of Research of Competition of Nacional Office of Free Competition of the Authority of Consumer’s Protection and Defense of Competition (ACODECO)
  • Germán Zamorano, Director of Promotion of the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNCD) -Argentina.
  • National Competition Commission (CONACOM) -Paraguay (*)
  • Erix Aldo Ruíz Mondaca, General Economic Advisor of the National Office of Research and Promotion of Free Competition of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) -Peru.

Purpose of the session: To present successful case studies provided by the Member States that demonstrate the effective application of competition policy in public procurement. These cases go beyond the mere description of problems and resolutions, as they highlight key elements and replicable best practices. During the session, speakers will share recommendations and conclusions based on these cases, providing practical tools to promote fair and transparent competition in public procurement. Note: competition authorities will be invited to join this working session as panelists.

 
04:00 – 04:15 Questions and comments

 

04:15 – 04:45
30 min.

Session 7: Panel discussion: challenges and opportunities in the application of competition policy in public procurement processes. 
Moderator: UN Trade & Development.

Purpose of the session: To offer participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives constructively in an atmosphere of open and respectful dialogue. They will be encouraged to share concrete examples of challenges faced in the application of competition policy in public procurement, as well as to outline identified opportunities to improve these processes.

 
04:45 – 05:00

Proposed theme and venue for the XIII Meeting of the WGTC

 

05:00 – 05:15
5 min c/u

Closing of the Forum of the Working Group on Trade and Competition in Latin America and the Caribbean (WGTC).

  • Representative of SELA
  • Representative of UN Trade & Development.
  • Representative of CDPC Honduras
 

(*) To be confirmed