European competition watchdogs gave businesses the go-ahead to team-up with rivals to maintain supplies of vital goods amid the coronavirus
In a joint statement on Monday, a panel of antitrust agencies said they won’t “actively intervene” when companies must cooperate to supply scarce products as the Covid-19 outbreak disrupts normal supply chains.
“This extraordinary situation may trigger the need for companies to cooperate in order to ensure the supply and fair distribution of scarce products to all consumers,” the European Competition Network, which represents national regulators from the 27 EU states, said in a website statement on Monday.
Companies usually risk hefty fines for swapping information on their stocks, prices and sales under rules that target illegal cartels. However the agencies said steps required to keep supplies running during the virus crisis “are unlikely to be problematic” as they wouldn’t restrict competition or would prove so useful they would justify any restrictions.
Firms concerned about potentially breaking the rules can reach out for guidance to national regulators, the
The European agencies also echoed
The ECN will “not hesitate to take action against companies taking advantage of the current situation by cartelizing or abusing their dominant position,” the regulators said.
Manufacturers can set maximum prices for their products which “could prove useful to limit unjustified price increase” by retailers, they added.
Italy’s antitrust and consumer authority is
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