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Posted on 24 June 2021

Competition law:

  • UK competition law continues to apply unchanged by Brexit. UK retailers should take steps to ensure they are aware of and continue to comply with the rules on anti-competitive agreements and conduct, so as to avoid possible investigations and fines. 
  • The European Commission will still be entitled to investigate and review agreements or conduct entered into by UK retailers where they have an effect on competition in the EU (for example agreements between retailers to share markets).
  • In cases of pan-European cartels or abuses of dominance, there may be parallel investigations with the EU Commission and Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) both involved. There will certainly be collaboration between the two to ensure a joined up approach to multi-jurisdictional infringements although the precise terms of such collaboration remain to be finalised.
  • Both the UK CMA and the European Commission are considering rules relating to distribution and supply agreements, with the EU Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (and its retained version applying in UK law post-Brexit) expiring in May 2022. The CMA has recently issued a consultation, which includes certain recommendations to update the existing rules. 
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