Impact of COVID-19: New Exemptions Under Antitrust Law

Latham & Watkins LLP

EU/EFTA/ECN – On 23 March 2020, the competition authorities in the European Competition Network (the European Commission, the EFTA Surveillance Authority, and the national competition authorities of the EU/EEA) issued a Joint Statement on the application of competition law during the COVID-19 crisis. The Joint Statement notes that the ECN “understands that 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” and that “it will not actively intervene against necessary and temporary measures put in place in order to avoid a shortage of supply”. The ECN also encourage manufacturers to use the option of imposing maximum resale prices to avoid situations that could be challenged by competition authorities as excessive pricing. In addition, ECN states an intention to take action against companies taking advantage of the current situation either through cartels or abusing a dominant position.

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