OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Portugal

Volume II - Self-Regulated Professions

Several of Portugal’s product markets remain among the most heavily regulated in the OECD, not least in the services sector. As vital inputs into the business sector, the liberal professions, such as legal services, architects and engineers, generate up to 1.8 times their value in outputs when they are used by firms. Having structural flaws such as access restrictions and reserved tasks, adversely affect the availability of such services for firms, there hence their ability to effectively compete in the markets. Regulatory restrictions also hamper innovation, efficiency and productivity within the liberal professions themselves. Against this backdrop, this report analyses Portuguese regulations for 13 self-regulated liberal professions (lawyers, solicitors, notaries, bailiffs, architects, engineers, technical engineers, certified accountants, auditors, economists, customs brokers, nutritionists and pharmacists). Using the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit to structure the analysis, the project analysed 923 pieces of legislation. The report identifies 323 legal provisions which could be removed or amended to lift regulatory barriers to competition. The analysis of the Portuguese legislation and professions has been complemented by research into international experience and wide consultations with stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The OECD recommendations aim to remove or modify the identified provisions in order to be less restrictive in the access or exercise of the professions, to the benefit of businesses and consumers alike, while still achieving the policy objectives as stated by the Portuguese government. This report identifies the sources of those benefits and, where possible, provides quantitative estimates.