About the Belize Competition Project

Summary

The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The original treaty was amended in 2001 for greater economic integration among CARICOM countries.
Based on this, Belize & other Caribbean Countries must:
  • Establish Competition Policy & Law to strengthen the business climate
  • Monitor and investigate anti-competitive practices that force out competition
  • Enforce competition policy & law once it is legislated
  • Urge citizens to play their role in preserving fair competition in the larger Caribbean Community in cooperation with the European Union

Overview

Belize as a member of CARICOM has obligations to comply with competition rules under Chapter 8 (CAPVIII) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to facilitate its integration into the CARICOM and Single Market and Economy (CSME). Belize has similar obligations as a CARIFORUM member under Chapter 1 of the CARIFORUM-European Partnership Agreement (EPA).


Chapter VIII (CAP VIII) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (Revised Treaty) was designed to monitor, investigate and enforce the competition laws so that the single market imperative can be protected. Additionally, under Chapter 1 (CAP I) of the EPA, it is required that CARICOM member states establish a Regional Competition Authority to interface with the European Union Competition Authority on competition matters.


Belize currently lacks from a legislative and institutional framework for competition policy and has benefited from funding under the 10th EDF CSME and Economic Integration Program Financing Agreement to develop a Competition Regime that will facilitate its integration into the CSME. Moreover, a Competition Regime for Belize is necessary for future trade arrangements that Belize may enter into.


Anti-competitive behavior in the market and inappropriate regulations cause market failures. There is a general view that competition contributes positively to the economy and that a competition policy and law is needed for markets to work well and to ensure that benefits to consumers are guaranteed.

Purpose

The Belize Competition Project (BCP) under Program Estimate 2 (PE2) serves as the vehicle for the development of a Competition Regime for Belize. The total amount of PE2's budget is BZE$ 2,028,363.00 and its operating period runs until September 30th, 2016. 

The three main results expected from the activities to be carried out over this operational period are:
  1. The establishment of a Policy, legislative and institutional framework necessary for the Belize Competition Regime;
  2. The establishment of administrative support structures for the Belize Competition Project and development of a Competition Regime.
  3. Increasing the visibility, awareness and understanding of the mandate of the BCP.

The development of a Competition policy and law must be based on a thorough analysis of the domestic economy and legal environment to ensure appropriateness of rules and regulations put in place.


With this in perspective, the Project Management Unit (PMU) is currently implementing three contracts needed to complete all activities under the project. The three tenders launched are to deliver on the 'Design and Development of a Communication and Visibility Strategy and Action Plan & Website Design'; a 'Research and Development of an Economic Mapping study, a Legislative Review and Legal Inventory Study and Drafting of a Competition Policy and Law for Belize'; and advisory services through a 'Competition Advisor'.


The final outputs from these consultancies will facilitate the enabling environment for a competition policy and law for Belize. Furthermore, it will contribute to the development of an institutional and regulatory framework necessary for the application and enforcement of these rules through a National Competition Authority.

Funding

The Belize Competition Project is jointly funded by the Government of Belize and the European Union under the 10th EDF, and is implemented by the Directorate General for Foreign Trade to create enabling policy, legal, institutional, and administrative frameworks for the establishment of a fair and effective competition regime in Belize.

 

The CSME and Integration Programme Financing Agreement was signed on 28th March 2012 between the CARICOM secretariat the EU to assist CARICOM countries to support the integration of CARICOM states into the global economy. As a Signatory to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Belize will benefit from 970,000 Euros (approx. BZD $2.2 Million Dollars) to implement its treaty obligations and establish a competition regime.

 

Belize Competition Project

There is a general view that competition contributes positively to the economy and that a competition policy and law is needed for markets to work well and to ensure that benefits to consumers are guaranteed.