The Chilean National Economic Prosecutors Office (FNE) has filed a lawsuit with the Chilean Free Competition Defense Court against Agrosuper, Ariztía, Don Pollo and the Poultry Producers Association of Chile (APA), for fixing production levels and prices over the last decade.
The three poultry companies, Agrosuper, Aritzía and Don Pollo together control 92% of Chile’s poultry and it is alleged that the APA essentially dictates how much each company can produce, thus artificially deciding each company’s market share.
The FNE is seeking the maximum penalty, a US$110 million fine and the dissolution of the APA. The poultry companies claim that the APA never set production quotas, that they caused no harm to competitors or consumers, and that Chile continues to have an open poultry market.
In an interview with local newspaper, La Tercera, general manager of Agrosuper, José Guzmán called the accusations “categorically and completely false, misleading and wrong. It is regrettable that this situation has occurred, because I know directly that there is no agreement nor has there ever been a limitation on production. It is all completely untrue.”
The country’s President, Sebastián Piñera, has been vocal about the government’s commitment to protecting consumers from such collusion as well as protecting the free market. In order to protect both, Piñera has created a “collusion commission” that will study preventative measures against future threats to free trade.
Chicken is among the cheapest form of protein and the average Chilean consumes 60 pounds a year, according to a report released by the Office of Agricultural Policy (PASO).
Source: The Santiago Times