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Competencia

Adaptando el derecho de competencia a las realidades de cada país

Por: Francisco Beneke* 

Las dos jurisdicciones con mayor influencia en derecho de competencia a nivel mundial son Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea. En el resto del mundo se mira qué hacen las cortes estadounidenses y la Comisión Europea para obtener guías de cómo tratar ciertas conductas empresariales. Sin embargo, los contextos sociales, políticos y económicos en estas dos jurisdicciones son distintos entre sí y, por supuesto, distintos a la realidad de los países en vías de desarrollo. Por lo tanto, la aplicación de las leyes de competencia se debe adaptar a las condiciones socio-económicas de cada país.

El derecho de competencia se encarga del diseño de normas claras para sancionar conductas dañinas a la economía de libre mercado, minimizando los costos de los procesos (abogados de las partes, recursos de la autoridad que decide el caso, etc.) y los costos que genera el riesgo de sancionar conductas que en realidad son pro-competitivas (lo más grave no es sancionar una empresa cuya conducta es eficiente, sino las señales que ello envía al resto de empresas alrededor de toda la economía).

La intervención estatal para corregir prácticas anticompetitivas solo se justifica si estos costos son menores que los que se generarían al esperar que las fuerzas del mercado corrijan sus fallas. En economías más dinámicas se puede esperar que esta auto-corrección se dé más rápidamente y que los consumidores pierdan menos bienestar que en economías menos desarrolladas. Por lo tanto es más justificable que en Estados Unidos se sea más permisivo con supuestas conductas de monopolización (el equivalente de abuso de posición de dominio) que en El Salvador.

Un ejemplo de este trato menos estricto de este tipo de conductas en Estados Unidos se da en los precios predatorios (vender a un precio por debajo de su costo marginal). Es virtualmente imposible que un demandante gane un caso de esta naturaleza por ciertas razones. Una de las principales es que se debe comprobar que el predador podrá recuperar sus pérdidas incrementando sus precios a niveles monopólicos por un período prolongado sin inducir la entrada de nuevos competidores que disciplinen el mercado. La carga probatoria para poder establecer esto es altísima puesto que las cortes estadounidenses son muy reacias a creer que en su economía tan dinámica puedan tener este tipo de problemas.

Intuitivamente se puede afirmar que la economía estadounidense o europea es más dinámica  que las de los países latinoamericanos, pero ¿qué factores determinan esta diferencia y que a la vez deben de ser tomados en cuenta por las autoridades de competencia dentro de los análisis de sus casos para tratar ciertas conductas con mayor o menor rigurosidad que en Estados Unidos y Europa?

Uno de los aspectos más importantes que determinan el dinamismo de una economía es la facilidad con que las empresas pueden invertir e ingresar a un mercado. Esta facilidad se ve afectada por algunas características que diferencian a economías desarrolladas de las que se encuentran en vías de desarrollo. El análisis de competencia debe tomar en cuenta el impacto de estas características en la evaluación de qué tan probable es que la entrada de nuevos competidores discipline un ejercicio de poder de mercado (incrementar precios por encima del que existiera en condiciones de competencia).

Una diferencia entre países desarrollados y en vías de desarrollo que debe considerarse en este análisis de entrada es que en estos últimos existe una mayor incertidumbre sobre los retornos futuros de una inversión. Esto es ocasionado por, entre otros factores, una mayor corrupción, menos estabilidad política o instituciones débiles. La decisión de ingresar o no en un mercado depende del cálculo de la rentabilidad que la empresa se proyecta tener y, si existe suficiente incertidumbre sobre este punto, la entrada puede postergarse por un período de tiempo o indefinidamente. Si el costo hundido (inversión que no se puede recuperar si se sale del mercado) para ingresar es considerable, un agente económico estará propenso a esperar y observar el desempeño del mercado para obtener más información sobre si las ganancias que puede obtener en el futuro serán suficientes para recuperar la inversión.

El momento en que se genera la entrada es importante porque si es en un punto suficientemente lejano, la autoridad de competencia estará preocupada en mayor medida por la posibilidad que un agente económico pueda incrementar sus precios de forma rentable sin incentivar a que nuevos competidores ingresen al mercado atraídos por los altos márgenes de ganancia. Este es el tipo de análisis que se realiza, por ejemplo, para decidir si se autoriza una concentración.

También es importante tener en cuenta que el nivel de incertidumbre puede variar de mercado en mercado y no ser igual en todo el país. Pongamos un ejemplo: dos mercados, A y B, están regulados por los entes estatales A1 y B1, respectivamente. Supongamos que A1 es altamente independiente y reacio a cambiar las reglas del juego y por el contrario B1 es sujeto a influencia política y es una maquila de nuevas regulaciones. Bajo estas circunstancias, las empresas que deseen ingresar a B verán agravada su incertidumbre sobre sus predicciones de ganancias futuras.

Existe evidencia empírica en algunas economías emergentes (norte de África y en el occidente de Asia) sobre la relación entre las variables descritas y el dinamismo con el que se da la entrada y salida de empresas en algunas industrias. Es importante que estos estudios se repliquen en cada economía para determinar qué variables adicionales deben tomar en cuenta las autoridades de competencia en países en vías de desarrollo en el análisis de sus casos. Esto contribuirá a desarrollar un marco de análisis que permita a las autoridades de competencia determinar con mayor exactitud si la probabilidad que el ingreso de un nuevo competidor es suficientemente alta para disipar preocupaciones sobre la existencia de poder de mercado de algunos oferentes.

* El autor es Licenciado en Ciencias Jurídicas de la Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios. Posee un Master of Laws de University of California-Berkeley y es candidato al Doctor en Derecho en Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität, Munich, Alemania. Fungió como abogado de la Intendencia Económica de la Superintendencia de Competencia entre 2009 y 2014.

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