President of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, Alexandre Barreto, conducted the last trial session of his term, which will end on the 21st of June.
Since taking over as president of CADE in 2017, Alexandre Barreto has committed to promoting actions that make Brazil's competitive environment better, which could lead CADE to a more prominent role in the global antitrust scenario.
In this sense, the historic achievements during his term, such as Brazil's adhesion to the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the agreements entered into with Petrobras, the inclusion of the autarchy in the General Law of Regulatory Agencies, the partnerships established with the state prosecutors, among others, demonstrate how CADE has advanced in the implementation of efficient public policies for the defence of competition, in line with the best international practices.
In its role in promoting free competition, CADE analysed 1,728 operations during Barreto's tenure – in an overall average period of 29.7 days, one of the shortest in the world. Furthermore, as part of the repression of violations of the economic order, CADE's Court judged, under the presidency of Barreto, 91 administrative proceedings and approved 155 Terms of Commitment to Termination, which resulted in approximately R$4.3 billion, between fines and monetary contributions.
Also, in this area, it is worth highlighting the improvement of CADE's performance concerning the advocacy of competition before government agencies and society to collaborate with public policies related to issues under the authority of the autarchy. Within this framework, CADE has significantly contributed to important discussions on civil aviation markets, natural gas and oil refining, fuels, digital economy, and passenger transport applications, among other subjects.
To further strengthen the dissemination of the culture of competition, in 2020, CADE created an advocacy centre in the Department of Economic Studies of the autarchy. This initiative made it possible to draw up, last year, 24 technical notes contrary to bills that provided for the direct intervention of the State on prices in different markets, such as medicines, school fees, LPG gas, equipment and supplies for health services.
CADE's performance during Barreto's administration was also focused on the publication of guides, manuals, ordinances and studies that standardised and helped to systematise the autarchy's procedures and understandings. The Antitrust Remedies Guide, the Guide to Combat Cartel in Bidding, the BRICS in the Digital Economy Report, and studies on the market for agricultural inputs, open and pay-TV, and terms of commitment can be highlighted on this front of action of Termination under Law 12,529/11.
Another important pillar that has advanced significantly in recent years is the coordinated institutional action between CADE and different government agencies and entities. The partnerships entered into with the State Public Prosecutors, regulatory agencies, control bodies and civil society entities allowed greater cooperation in the negotiation of leniency agreements and increased legal certainty for the celebrating company; increasing CADE's investigative capacity; and greater efficiency and agility in the prevention and repression of infractions against the economic order.
Also, in this line of action, the resumption and strengthening of ties between CADE and the Central Bank stand out, resulting in creating a working group and signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the institutions in 2018. It is also important to mention the entry of CADE at the Foreign Trade Chamber (Camex) at the end of 2019, with the role of providing subsidies for decision-making in the context of issues involving competition and trade defence.
CADE achieved impressive results during Alexandre Barreto's term regarding its role in the international antitrust scenario. In addition to expanding its presence in debates promoted by international forums, such as those carried out by the OECD and the International Competition Network (ICN), the autarchy hosted at least one significant international event in each of the four years of Barreto's term.
In addition to the historic achievement of Brazil's entry as an associate member of the OECD's Competition Committee, it is worth noting CADE's engagement within the scope of ICN, assuming leadership positions in the network. For example, in the 2017-2020 period, the autarchy led the network's Cartel Working Group and shared its expertise in fighting cartels with the other members.
As of 2020, the autarchy assumed the co-leadership of the group responsible for discussions at ICN related to mergers and acquisitions, the Merger Working Group.
Another commitment assumed by the current president, which achieved important results, concerns the expansion of services offered digitally by CADE to society. Between 2020 and 2021, several new electronic services were made available, including the system for issuing the Union Collection Guide, the jurisprudence search system, the Push system for process monitoring and the digital questionnaire for collecting information from companies.
President Barreto's leadership is marked by his commitment to providing CADE with sufficient resources to fulfil its mission in an increasingly efficient manner. During his term, CADE's budget jumped from around 30 million in 2017 to 56 million in 2020.
The increase in the budget allowed for the improvement of projects, the training of civil servants and employees, and the increase in the municipality's workforce. CADE went from 355 servers and employees (interns and outsourced) in 2017 to almost 500 people in 2020.
Over the past four years, the CADE team's work has been recognised nationally and internationally under President Alexandre Barreto's leadership. As a result, the autarchy is now seen as a reference public institution in Brazil and the world for its efficiency of action, permanent improvement of procedures and parameters, and the precision, correctness and enforcement of its decisions.
The recognition achieved by the Brazilian antitrust agency is reflected by national and international awards, with emphasis on Best Antitrust Agency in the Americas 2017 – title awarded by the British magazine Global Competition Review (GCR); Incredible Places to Work 2020 and FIA 2021 Organizational Climate Certification – by FIA/UOL; and winner of the Antitrust Compliance Awards 2021 with the Guide to Compliance Programs – by the French magazine Concurrences.