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Competition Law and Policy in a Small-State Setting

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Small State EconomiesSmall states are usually small economies and it is generally accepted that they face particular difficulties in implementing and developing competition law.  It is arguable that these difficulties arise precisely from the fact that these states are small. After all, the constructs that have found their way into the modern competition law disciplines were developed in large economies and these were later exported to smaller ones. The participants in large economies have had and continue to have opportunities to develop in terms of scale and scope, which opportunities are usually denied to the market participants in small economies.  More importantly, perhaps, market participants in large economies generally have per capita less overall impact on the economy where they operate than the impact that even smaller entities would have in smaller economies.   Indeed, from one perspective that is precisely the purpose of modern competition law, which is to reduce the debilitating impact any one market participant may have on the overall economy. So, one may argue, small states need competition law more than large states.


There is no spoon

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I recently attended the Caribbean Public Procurement (Law & Practice) Conference (CPPC 2010) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. One does not usually 'wax lyrical' about academic or professional conferences but this one, held between 11-12 October 2010, was very well done. Margaret Rose and her team at CPI must be commended for superlative work.

My presentation was on the need for openness and transparency in public procurement. It carried the introductory line, 'There is no spoon' and began with the following paragraph:

Some may remember the 1999 movie by the Wachowski brothers, 'The Matrix.' There is a scene where the protagonist, Neo, is brought to meet the Oracle to determine if he is indeed the Chosen One, as some think he is. In the anteroom he meets another candidate, a young boy bending spoons without physical force, who advises him that the trick is not to try to bend the spoon with his mind. He says, '... that  is impossible. Instead, only try to realise the truth ... There is no spoon.'


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.


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.


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