Enactment of the Cartels Bill appears imminent
Today Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean tabled a supplementary order paper ("SOP") making changes to the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Bill ("Cartels Bill"). In addition, Parliament's Business Statement, published today, states that the Government intends to progress the Cartels Bill when the House resumes on 25 July.
Progressing the Cartels Bill, which has been before Parliament since 2011, will be a positive step forward for businesses. It will provide a more "fit for purpose" exemption for efficiency-enhancing collaborations between competitors, and will provide businesses with certainty on the competition law regime going forward (rather than needing to structure their arrangements in accordance with the current, and the proposed, legal framework).
The main changes to the Cartels Bill included in the SOP are:
- introducing a new exemption for international liner shipping from the prohibitions on anticompetitive agreements and cartels;
- clarifying that businesses will be able to use and enforce restraints of trade clauses, even after collaborative activities have ended, without breaching the cartel prohibition in the Act; and
- enabling private parties to take damages proceedings against New Zealand businesses if (a) an overseas person acquires a controlling interest in that New Zealand business via an overseas acquisition; and (b) the High Court declares that the acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition in a market in New Zealand.
The full text of the SOP can be accessed here.
Parliament's Business Statement can be accessed here.
If you have any questions on how these developments may affect your business, please contact one of the contributors below.
This publication is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.