Competition Law Around The World: A Close Look At The Latest In Brazil, Italy And Spain

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DLA Piper – Antitrust Update Alert

Throughout the coming months, we will be reporting on developments in antitrust and competition law – and how these changes affect your business – not only in the US but worldwide. Today’s update looks at the status of competition law in three countries: Brazil, Spain and Italy.

Each of these countries has taken important steps in the area of competition law in recent months – for instance, to bring its laws in line with international standards, to more effectively combat anticompetitive behavior and even to redress lingering effects of the global financial crisis.

Writing for The Public Competition Enforcement Review, DLA Piper’s lawyers in Spain and Italy and Campos Mello Advogados lawyers in Brazil take a close look at the events of the past year in antitrust enforcement. What should businesses expect from the competition authorities in these markets in the days to come?

BRAZIL: A NEW COMPETITION LAW, A TIME OF TRANSITION

Brazil’s commitment towards enforcing antitrust policies is very new, and Brazil will remember 2012 as an important transitional time – the year when it adopted its new competition law and consolidated all its key regulatory competition functions – investigative, prosecutorial and adjudicative – into a single federal agency, CADE. The new legislation makes it far easier for companies to get a clear picture about their responsibilities and the “do’s and don’ts” regarding competition issues.

A review of CADE’s recent activities shows that cartels remain a top priority for Brazilian enforcers, who are also looking closely at merger control, bid rigging, market dominance and other competition concerns in a broad array of industries. But, notably, the past year, has proved to be a time of challenges for the regulators as they aggressively strive to transition into an entirely new system, and this will remain true in the months to come.

Find out more about these sweeping changes and how they may affect companies in this chapter by Andre Marques Gilberto, Alvaro Bayeux and Victoria Corradini of Campos Mello Advogados in Brazil.

SPAIN: STRONGER POWERS, LARGE-SCALE CARTEL ENFORCEMENT

Since its birth only six years ago, Spain’s National Competition Commission has expanded the powers held by its predecessor, the Spanish Competition Tribunal, improving its ability to foster competition in the Spanish markets.

In the past year, it has continued its large-scale, assertive work in the area of cartels and has moved against a number of companies that it alleged were abusing their positions in their market sectors.

What were the most significant competition cases of the past year in Spain, and what is the outlook for the NCC’s activities in the near future? And what of Spain’s plans to merge the NCC with other Spanish regulators?

Read the overview by DLA Piper’s Jose Maria Jimenez-Laiglesia, Alfonso Ois, Jorge Masia, Samuel Rivero and Joaquín Hervada.

ITALY: AIMING FOR A STRONGER, MORE SUCCESSFUL LENIENCY PROGRAM

In recent months, Italy’s domestic watchdog over antitrust matters, the ICA, has been focusing largely on anti-competitive behavior that is less serious than cartels – for instance, inappropriate exchanges of information.

The ICA has not been particularly active in its approach to cartel enforcement – largely because the leniency program appears to have failed. However, Italy is looking at a fresh approach to leniency programs, a change which offers Italy a good opportunity to improve its cartel enforcement.

Find out more in this chapter.