Increased competition can improve a country’s economic performance, open business opportunities to its citizens and reduce the cost of goods and services for businesses and consumers. Although laws and regulations are necessary for the good functioning of our societies and economies, in some cases they can hamper competition, restricting market access and leading to poorer outcomes for consumers.
In 2021, the Brazilian government asked the OECD to carry out an independent competition assessment of the country’s ports and civil aviation sectors in order to identify potential barriers to competition.
The assessment was conducted in co-operation with the the Brazilian Competition Authority (CADE). It involved the screening of 230 pieces of legislation in both sectors using the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit, revealing 550 potential barriers to competition (see this list of legislation screened for more details). The report submits 368 recommendations that can mitigate harm to competition. Furthermore, it evaluates the impact that the implementation of specific recommendations would have on the economy and a conservative estimate indicates savings between BRL 700 million to BRL 1 billion a year in the benefit of Brazilian consumers.
The project was kicked off during a launch webinar on 8 April 2021 (Agenda). The final report was launched on 27 September 2022 during the week of the OECD-IDB Latin American and Caribbean Competition Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The launch event benefited from interventions by Mr. Alexandre Cordeiro, President of CADE, Mr. Frédéric Jenny, Chairman of OECD Competition Committee, and Mr. Antonio Gomes, Deputy Director at OECD as well as from the OECD project team who presented the key findings and recommendations to over 100 regional stakeholders.
Structural reforms would support the economic recovery in Brazil
The Brazilian economy is facing a number of challenges. The country was pulling out of a long recession when the COVID-19 outbreak hit, bringing the economy back into another, even deeper recession. The most recent OECD Economic Survey of Brazil estimates the COVID-19 crisis caused GDP to shrink by 5% in 2020. This was followed by a return to growth of 5% in 2021, expected to slow significantly in 2022 to 0.6%, before picking up to 1.2% in 2023.
The civil aviation and ports sector assessed in this report play a major role for Brazil’s economy. The civil aviation sector is crucial for its economic development and integration. In 2019, it represented 1.4% of GDP and 1.5 million jobs, carrying around 103 million passengers per year and accounting for more than 33% of all passengers transported in Latin America. As to the ports sector, exports and imports by water transportation accounted for more than 98% of Brazilian exports and more than 92% of imports in terms of volume.
Especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, reforms to support firms to grow and compete internationally would enable Brazil to reap the benefits of integrating into global trade and to address rising poverty and inequality. A strong and inclusive recovery from the crisis that benefits all Brazilians will require reforms to boost jobs, productivity and trade.
OECD Competition Assessment Reviews and the project
OECD Competition Assessment Reviews provide an analysis of regulatory restrictions on competition in the countries reviewed and make specific policy recommendations for reform. The resulting recommendations allow governments to introduce more competition into the economy and foster long-lasting growth.
The OECD has conducted an in-depth analysis of each potential barrier, taking into consideration the objectives of policy makers, the extent of possible competitive harm, international experiences, factors unique to Brazil, and relevant economic and policy literature.
This work was complemented by workshops to build the capacity of Brazilian officials to conduct competition assessment, in line with international best practices.
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