American Express Co. said Argentina's National Commission for the Defense of Competition closed an investigation last Friday into possible anticompetitive practices in the card industry.

In September American Express filed a complaint that prompted the inquiry, which looked into the legality of a proposed Visa bylaw that would prohibit the card association's members from issuing competitors' cards.

In October Visa's Latin American board decided not to introduce the bylaw. (MasterCard's Latin American region also does not have such a bylaw.)

American Express said that in closing the investigation the commission said the bylaw would have been illegal. The commission also said it would reinstate the proceedings if the associations introduced such bylaws in the future, according to American Express,

James F. Partridge, Visa's president for the region, dismissed American Express' reaction to the commission's comments. "I think it's just an attempt to keep something alive that never was born," he said.

American Express has filed complaints in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico that are still open. Another, in Chile, was closed after Visa and MasterCard said a bylaw would not be enacted in that market.

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