International: Fair trading draft bill
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Competition law The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published a draft competition bill*. If enacted, this will bring the UK more in line with EU competition law by introducing: • A prohibition against anti-competitive agreements, cartels and concerted practices— based on Article 85 of the Treaty of Rome; • A prohibition against abuse of a dominant position—based on Article 86 of the Treaty of Rome; • Fines for serious abuses; • Damages for competitors and customers affected by anti-competitive behaviour in breach of the prohibition; • The power to stop anti-competitive action pending detailed investigations; and • A right of appeal,
In addition. to this, all the existing functions of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will be transferred to a new Competition Commission.
*A Prohibition Approach to Anti-competitive Awareness/Abuse is available free from DTI Publications, Admail 528, London SW1 8YT, phone 0171 510 0174.
European competition Just as the UK is moving towards EU competition policy, the EU is shifting the goalposts. The European Commission is now proposing to change its competition rules to put more emphasis on large-scale agreements which could have a significant affect on the market Deals will be exempt from the restrictiveagreement rules if they are: • Vertical in nature (between supplier and distributor) involving less than 10% of the market share; or • Horizontal in nature (between companies from the same market sector) involving less than 5% of the market share.
The requirement that companies with a turnover above 300-million Ecti should report all agreements will be abolished.