By Leonardo Goy and Cesar Bianconi
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade has offered to weigh in on court challenges to laws banning ride-sharing service Uber, arguing for the advantages of increased competition, the agency's top official said on Wednesday.
Cade's president, Vinicius de Carvalho, told Reuters the agency is prepared to file an "amicus curiae," or "friend of the court," brief on any case considering the constitutionality of banning services such as Uber.
"Cade understands that these services come about to increase competition and will generally benefit the consumer," he said.
"You can't discuss regulation (of Uber) without addressing taxi licensing. Does it make sense to have a limited number of taxi licenses? Cade is tired of seeing cases where people set a table of prices and create barriers to entry based on arguments about guaranteeing quality," added Carvalho.
The city council of Sao Paulo, South America's largest metropolis, voted earlier this month to ban Uber, the latest setback for the company after several countries took similar steps this year.
The bill requires a second vote, expected in August, and the signature of Mayor Fernando Haddad in order to be enacted.
Earlier this week Cade began studying whether efforts made by taxi drivers in Brazil's Federal District to ban Uber represent "infractions to economic order."
(Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by Brad Haynes and Cynthia Osterman)