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Australia: ACCC slams proposed cartel legislation changes

 |  November 26, 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is speaking out against proposed changes to the nation’s competition laws, claiming the reforms will significantly weaken regulators’ ability to fight cartels.

Reports say the Harper competition review, which released its first draft of proposed changes in September, has earned significant backlash from the ACCC. In its most recent criticism, the regulator says it has “serious reservations” about changes to the cartel prohibitions.

”While the ACCC supports simplification, any amendments should not fundamentally alter the existing scope of the prohibitions,” the ACCC said in a submission.

According to reports, the review panel wants to narrow the definition of “competition” to allow exemptions for companies whose main operations are overseas. Current law applies to any two companies operating within Australia that are in competition with each other.

But the ACCC says such a move could be detrimental to cartel enforcement. “The ACCC considers the cartel provisions should not be amended to be limited to markets in Australia,” the regulator said. “it would risk substantively undermining the efficacy of the cartel provisions.”

The panel is slated to present its final report in March, reports say.

Full content: Sydney Morning Herald

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