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PCC wants early entry into negotiations for unsolicited infra proposals

/ 05:10 AM January 17, 2020

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) wants a parallel review of unsolicited infrastructure projects while they are still being negotiated in order to do away with cumbersome bureaucratic processes.

The antitrust body is asking businesses and government agencies to comment on a draft circular that would exempt joint ventures from notifying and applying for another layer of review, especially if the transaction is big enough and could potentially affect com­petition, after the deal has been made. Stakeholders have until Jan. 31 to send their comments.

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The draft provides that “the PCC shall review the project and provide its inputs during the negotiation stage for a period not exceeding 60 calendar days from receipt of complete documents and information.”And while negotiations with relevant agencies are ongoing, they may “at any stage, consult with the PCC on matters affecting competition in the markets affected by the [unsolicited proposal].”

In essence, the circular would allow all stakeholders involved in the process, including the PCC, to save time and resources. At present, the PCC only comes in when the deal has been done and the transaction reaches a certain threshold or amount.

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In addition to its inputs during the negotiation stage, the PCC may also require the parties to submit “undertakings” or commitments.

These undertakings would allow the PCC to make sure the winner would be able to address potential competition concerns. Otherwise, the PCC would have to again step in and launch its own review of the project if the winning joint venture “violates any of its commitments,” the draft read.

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TAGS: infrastructure projects, Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)
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