Five competition watchdogs to focus on collusion in international trade


Five competition authorities have formed a working group to help prevent anti-competitive behavior in the supply and distribution of goods.

The working group brings together the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Canadian Competition Bureau, the NZ Commerce Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

The five competition authorities will focus on illegal behavior, including collusion, in global supply chains, in light of pandemic-induced disruptions that have resulted in much higher freight rates and more expensive goods for consumers.

“The global freight supply chain is a complex web involving many jurisdictions, so the natural detection of anti-competitive behavior requires strong international partnerships,” said ACCC President Rod Sims.

“COVID-19 has caused the supply chain disruptions the world is currently experiencing, but the purpose of this task force is to detect any attempt by companies to use these conditions as a cover to work together and fix prices. “

“We will share intelligence to identify any behavior that restricts or distorts competition, and businesses are now on notice that the ACCC and its international counterparts will be ready to act,” added Sims.

Increased demand for containerized freight and severe congestion in the global supply chain have caused disruptions and delays in most sectors of the economy. Freight rates on major global trade routes are now about seven times higher than two years ago.

The types of anticompetitive behavior the task force will monitor include cartels and any other activity that has a significant impact on competition, such as exclusionary agreements by firms with market power.

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