In August 2012, the OECD published a paper as a follow-up to its
June 2011 roundtable on promoting compliance with competition law.
This is of interest to anybody involved with competition law
compliance within a business worldwide.
The paper includes an executive summary of the debate, which
considered a range of issues, including how competition compliance
can fit with other compliance topics which a business must deal
with. However, probably of most interest are the written
submissions from over 20 competition authorities around the world,
including those of Germany, Japan, Korea, the UK, the U.S., the EU,
Russia and Turkey. These contributions cover in a very useful
summary format each authority's views on the relevance of
competition compliance, how they promote it and related issues.
One issue which continues to attract interest is whether a
compliance programme should be relevant to fine setting. The UK
Office of Fair Trading contribution, to take one example, makes the
point that it supports compliance programmes by, in appropriate
circumstances, allowing a reduction in the fine for a breach of
competition law where a suitable compliance programme was or is put
in place. This was formalized in the OFT's September 2012
guidance on how it will set fines for breaches of competition law.
This position is far from universally held, with the European
Commission a leading proponent of the opposite view. It continues
with its long-held position that the existence or otherwise of a
compliance programme is not relevant to the level of a fine that it
may set for an infringement of EU competition law.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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