DUCKS IN A ROW

Peru 2015 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hebert Tassano Velaochago, Chairman of the Board of Indecopi, on the company's activities, the Doing Business ranking, and the prospects for the future.

Hebert Tassano Velaochago
BIOGRAPHY
Herbert Tassano Velaochago is the President of the Executive Council of Indecopi. He is a Lawyer by profession with a Law degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). He has more than 22 years of professional experience in the public sector. He has a Master's degree in Regulation of Public Services from the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) and IEDE Business School.

What are the main challenges to INDECOPI realizing its main activity in such varied fields?

In fact, INDECOPI is an institution that is responsible for numerous matters related to the following topics: (i) competition; (ii) protection of intellectual property; and (iii) consumer protection. It has independent and specialized functional bodies that are responsible for the investigation and resolution of cases on matters within its competence. Such as the Commission of Defense of Free Competition for the defense and promotion of competition and the Commission of Consumer Protection for consumer issues; additionally, we have offices responsible for matters related to intellectual property. In that sense, each subject is in charge of a specialized body or office, making the work of INDECOPI more efficient, because it allows progress on each of the issues in a balanced and parallel form. It must not be forgotten that all disciplines in charge of the institution have as common ultimate goal, which is the welfare of consumers; therefore, their relationship and direct relevance is to the functioning of the economic model of social market economy. The challenge is to bring all these activities under a common denominator that is timely, independent and technical resolution of the matters in charge to give assurance to enterprises.

Peru ranked as the second best place to do business in Latin America in the 2014 Doing Business Report. What factors in recent improvements in Peru's regional position underpin this ranking?

An important factor that Peru is in this position in the ranking has been undoubtedly the performance of INDECOPI in strengthening the country's institutions through the exercise of its powers. Indeed, the work that has been done is important companies and for our institution in eliminating illegal and/or irrational bureaucratic barriers for market access. In this regard, INDECOPI made an estimate for the costs of barriers unapplied in 2013 and concluded that the complainants traders would have had to assume approximately $44 million. Another important factor has been the promotion and defense of competition, which has been allowed into the Peruvian market to create a more dynamic and efficient place. Indeed, we should punish anti-competitive practices such as abuse of dominant position and agreements so that it allows more operators in the market; thus, they can compete in the quality of their products and services, which benefits citizens. It is important to note that between 2006 and 2014, INDECOPI solved a total of 79 cases by issues related to competition. In Peru, the investor has the guarantee that INDECOPI is a strong and active competition agency, which actions are technical and independent. That contributes to rank the country as the second best place to do business in Latin America

What are INDECOPI's plans for the coming years?

In recent years, INDECOPI has implemented a series of improvements that have strengthened the capacity of the institution in the administrative aspect and functionally. For example, we have opened offices in all the regions of the country and have strengthened the capacities of the functional bodies to perform better and more investigations. This is reflected in the results obtained regarding the elimination of bureaucratic barriers and initiating investigations of anticompetitive conducts, it also result from further competition advocacy and the activation of the leniency program as an important key to detecting cartels. However, we aim to further strengthen our capabilities to better serve businesses and citizens in general. To do this, we plan to implement technological tools to improve internal processes and thus serve users more efficiently. We are also presenting a series of legislative proposals to strengthen the powers of INDECOPI, including the proposal to improve the defense of free competition system, which is looking to enhance research capacity and the time frame to solve cases, as well as improve the bankruptcy system. It is important for companies to exit the market in an orderly manner. In addition, in the field of intellectual property, we are presenting a proposal to strengthen the protection of biodiversity and collective knowledge of indigenous communities of our country, which represents a major source of business. Finally, considering the importance of INDECOPI for the economy, we expect in the coming years propose a series of public policy related to matters of our competitors that can serve as a road for action by our institution and to harmonize the needs and objectives of each of the actors operating in the market: the State, businesses and citizens in general.