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New regulatory body merges Competition Commission with OFT

 |  March 15, 2012

The U.K. has announced its plans to form a new regulatory body, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA is formed by merging the Competition Commission and the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading. It is to be independent of the government as a Non Ministerial Department. Business Minister Norman Lamb’s statement describes the role of the CMA: “[it] will have a primary duty to promote effective competition in markets, across the UK economy and for the benefit of consumers. This includes responsibility for merger regulation, market investigations, cartel and antitrust cases, as well as a number of functions with respect to the regulated utilities.”

The decision comes after extensive public consultation; many described the current competition regime as “too complicated and contain[ing] a lot of duplication.” The government seeks to streamline procedure and to make the competition regime more efficient and transparent by concentrating all competition duties in a single body.

The CMA will be fully operating by April 2014.

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