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Credibility for Competition Authorities

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Prof Ruth OkedijiI was happy to have had an opportunity to attend a Roundtable organized by Prof Ruth Okediji on Competition Law for Heads of Competition Authorities from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Regions at Harvard University. I was asked to speak on building credibility for competition authorities and on the lessons from the Caribbean, and more specifically from the Jamaican experience. I was especially pleased to be on the same panel as my colleague from Barbados, Mrs Peggy Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Fair Trading Commission. When I was first asked  if I would make a presentation on this topic, I thought the request came at a favourable or appropriate time, at least from my perspective. I have been struggle lately with finding useful indices for measuring performance of executive agencies, including my own, and lamenting the fact that there is no useful index.


A voice in the wilderness

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Jamaica's Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission (ADSC) has ruled [by a majority] that cement imported from the Dominican Republic is being dumped in Jamaica, and that there was evidence of some injury to the domestic industry as a result, scoring a Round One victory to Caribbean Cement Company Limited.

But in its preliminary findings released Thursday, the commission also said that the majority determination was inconclusive as whether the injury was 'material'.

That is to be determined in the next phase of the investigation.


No threats from cement imports

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Jamaica's anti-dumping commission has determined that the importation of Vulcan-made cement, the American-made product, is of no threat to the local industry, clearing the way for Tank-Weld Metals to continue trading the product here.

The ruling has been welcomed by developers, for whom the price of cement has direct bearing on profit margins.

The Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission (ADSC), based on a complaint by Caribbean Cement Company Limited(CCCL), previously ruled on April 8 that there was a margin of dumping, which it estimated at 59.72 per cent.


Caribbean Cement triumphs

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Tank-Weld's distribution of Vulcan-made cement is harmful to the Jamaican market, but the Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission (ADSC), whose preliminary findings were to be released yesterday, has opted not to impose an early penalty on the construction company.

Documents obtained by the Financial Gleaner also indicate a split among the commissioners, with ADSC chairman Derrick McKoy disagreeing with three others on the panel that there was a "threat of material injury" to the domestic market, which in this case would be Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL), the sole manufacturer of the product here.


Modernisation of the framework for arbitration

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Arbitration can only be as good as its arbitrators, who are themselves constrained by the regulatory and institutional mechanisms which impact how they practise. Any attempt, therefore, to modernise the Jamaican framework for arbitration must consider the intricacies of the governing law and supporting institutions as well as the capacity of those who serve as arbitration practitioners.

Governing law

The governing law for arbitration in Jamaica is the Arbitration Act of 1900, which was modelled on the English Arbitration Act of 1889. Since enactment, the Jamaican law has remained in force without any significant amendment and its 'best by' date can no longer be deciphered in an environment where the requirements for arbitration now bear little resemblance to what would have existed in the early 20th century. In short, the 1900 Act is now outmoded and offers limited assistance to current arbitration practice.

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