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Due to the lack of appointments of commissioners by the Executive and the Senate of the Republic, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) reported that it has suspended the deadline to issue a resolution on barriers to competition in the card payment system.

In December 2020, this autonomous body issued a preliminary opinion, where it established that there are no conditions of effective competition in the card payment system in Mexico, given that probable barriers were observed that prevent entry and increase the costs of new participants, in addition to inhibiting innovation and investment, and increasing the costs of the banks that affiliate businesses. However, for a final resolution the arguments of the parties involved were lacking.

In said preliminary opinion, they proposed, among other measures, that the banks divest their shares from the clearing houses E-Global and Prosa, of which eight are co-owners. “The lack of conditions of competition in the services offered by this network affects consumers and businesses, slowing banking and financial inclusion,” he explained on that occasion.

Not enough votes

This Tuesday, Cofece, headed by Brenda Hernández, -replacing Alejandra Palacios, who finished her second term at the agency in September 2021-, explained that the Federal Economic Competition Law establishes that the affirmative vote of at least five commissioners to resolve procedures that determine the existence of barriers to competition and essential inputs, but today its governing body only has four of the seven members that must conform it by constitutional mandate.

He specified that, in accordance with the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the head of the Executive Power to propose to the Senate the people who will occupy the vacancies of the plenary session of Cofece, who must select from the three lists that the Evaluation Committee, made up of the Bank of Mexico and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, sent him in November 2020, as well as in March and November 2021.

“The applicants for the positions are experts in economic competition who passed a technical knowledge exam and passed a rigorous evaluation process,” he said.

He added that due to the omission of the head of the Executive, Cofece presented, in December 2021, a constitutional controversy in order to enforce the Constitution, since concluding with the selection of commissioners is an essential condition to exercise all its powers.

The commission urged the head of the Federal Executive and the Senate to designate those who will assume the vacancies of commissioners, in order to be able to deal with this and other relevant cases for the benefit of the efficiency of the markets and for the well-being of consumers.

Said suspension is added to two others decreed by the Plenary in November, when it was unable, due to the lack of appointment of commissioners, to continue the relief of the legal procedure.

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