"Competition agencies cannot remain behind national
or regional fences – we need to pull our forces
During the last weeks of March the Sydney Competition partners
and Senior Associates were busy meeting and catching up with
visiting antitrust lawyers, economists and regulators from Europe,
the USA and Asia who were in Sydney to attend the IBA 9th
Competition Midyear Conference.
The international nature of the IBA conference attendees further
confirmed the recent trend that competition law has become one of
the most international forms of legal practice. Multinational
corporations now regularly co-ordinate their compliance
internationally in merger clearances and investigations.
At the Conference the European Commission and ACCC confirmed the
various regulators' views as to working together
internationally: "competition agencies cannot remain behind
national or regional fences – we need to pull our forces
During the week and in conjunction with the Conference, we
entertained visiting lawyers in our Sydney office from Amarchand
New Delhi and Bombay, Freshfields Brussels, Allen and Gledhill
Singapore, Addleshaw Goddard (UK), and Mori Hamada and Matsomoto
On Thursday 21 March 2013, Partners Michael Corrigan and Kirsten
Webb were featured on the IBA Program:
Michael moderated a Roundtable discussion with five antitrust
regulators, including Mr Joaquin Almunia Head of
the Directorate General of Competition of the European Commission,
and EU Vice President, Mr Hiroyuki Odagiri,
Commissioner with the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, Tokyo,
Mr. Alexey Sushkevich from the Federal
Anti-Monopoly Service of the Russian Federation, Mark
Berry the Chair of the New Zealand Commerce Commission and
Rod Sims, Chair of the ACCC, and
Kirsten participated in a panel session with lawyers from
Freshfields, Covington & Burling of the US and Orrick, France,
an economist from Compass Lexecon, London and local practitioners
on developments in the law concerning the abuse of dominance and
misuse of market power.
The topics discussed at the Regulators Roundtable included:
the EU's emphasis on applying competition policies to
mergers and cartel investigations even in difficult economic
work in relation to network industries involving
telecommunications and energy sectors;
arrangements in financial services such as LIBOR;
the investigation concerning Google; and
the abuse of patents.
In Japan the JFTC has a new Chairman, Mr Shigimoto, and
attention is being paid to cartel investigations and international
cooperation with other agencies.
Mark Berry, Chair of the Commerce Commission, discussed the
criminalisation of cartel activity in New Zealand as well as the
new procedure for clearance of "collaborative activities"
Rod Sims talked about the current number of cases the ACCC has
in Australia in both the cartel area, as well as for the abuse of
David Bradbury, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting
for Deregulation, gave a keynote address which addressed how the
Australian Government is responding to issues of market
concentration and the challenges they bring for competition policy.
He acknowledged that concentrated markets are complex and continue
to be a challenge for policy-makers and sought to shed light on
current issues in the Australian supermarket sector, including:
the impact of strong competition between supermarkets at the
retail level on the supply chain; and
scope for the industry to work out a voluntary resolution to
issues concerning the relationships between retailers and suppliers
and primary producers and the exercise of power in those
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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