On the 1st of December, Minister Geoffrey Wever, overseeing Economic Affairs, Communication, and Sustainable Development, officially inaugurated the Aruba Fair Trade Authority (AFTA) at its location in the heart of Oranjestad. AFTA is dedicated to fostering a competitive market and supporting the sustainable growth of our economy. The year 2023 marked a period of implementation, culminating in the restoration of a city center monument that now houses the Fair Competition Center in Aruba.
Functioning as an independent organization with its own board, AFTA will operate within the framework of competition law, thanks to funding and collaboration from the Netherlands through the Landspakket. Mr. Albert Scholten, a Dutch competition expert, played a pivotal role in guiding this process. Minister Wever extended his gratitude to Secretary of State Alexandra van Huffelen and TWO Netherlands for their financial support, emphasizing AFTA’s strategic partnership with the community and the business sector.
In early 2024, AFTA will commence the development of consumer protection laws, expanding its role in advocating for competition, integrity, and educating consumers about their rights. By 2025, AFTA is anticipated to regulate and report on matters related to consumer protection.
AFTA will engage in collaboration with regional and international bodies specializing in competition and consumer protection. It will join the International Competition Network (ICN) and soon establish an alliance with the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) of the Netherlands. A cooperative agreement was also signed with the Fair Trade Authority Curaçao (FTAC), fortifying the connection between the two organizations.
During the opening ceremony, Minister Wever introduced the members of AFTA’s board: President Filomeno (Roly) Sint Jago, Thomas Martijn Snoep, and Matthijs Visser, all possessing expertise in competition and consumer protection. Alongside Director Ernesto Kross, they are dedicated to promoting fair competition in Aruba.
Minister Wever expressed appreciation for the implementation team, including Albert Scholten, Amanda Maduro, Carondina Leijdekkers, and the Department of Economic Affairs, for their invaluable contributions to bringing AFTA into existence. AFTA is poised to positively impact the business sector, consumers, and the overall economy of Aruba.