United Kingdom, Gowling WLG updates

Competition & Antitrust

Contributed by Gowling WLG
When does competition law apply to public bodies? Recent guidance from Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 December 2020

In the context of a claim brought by Strident Publishing Limited against Creative Scotland, the Competition Appeal Tribunal has reiterated that UK and EU competition law applies to a public body only where it is acting as an 'undertaking'. The judgment provides helpful guidance for the purposes of assessing whether a public body is acting as an undertaking, such that UK or EU competition law would apply to its activities.

Merger control: CMA's ability to reject remedy proposals
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 November 2020

In April 2020 the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dismissed a challenge by Ecolab, Inc of the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA's) decision in its final report on Ecolab's completed acquisition of The Holchem Group Limited, including in relation to the CMA's required divestiture remedy. The CAT's judgment confirms the CMA's ability to reject proposed remedies where it does not have a high degree of confidence that they will effectively address identified competitive concerns.

Retailers and suppliers face enforcement risks regarding RPM
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 November 2020

In June 2020 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) made a number of announcements regarding certain investigations into resale price maintenance (RPM) within the UK musical instruments sector. However, these announcements have wider consequences in the context of the CMA's enforcement activities more generally in relation to RPM.

Merger control: greater scope for government intervention
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 November 2020

The government has published details of the National Security and Investment Bill, which will introduce a foreign direct investment screening regime in the United Kingdom. This follows on from recent revisions to the UK merger control regime, which introduced a new public interest criterion (in relation to public health emergencies) and lowered the jurisdictional thresholds applicable to certain activities in the United Kingdom (relating to AI, cryptographic authentication technology and advanced materials).

UK competition authority continues to penalise individuals for competition law infringements
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 September 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently publicised the disqualification of three individuals from acting as directors as a consequence of their company's involvement in an infringement of UK competition law. In view of the CMA's commitment to enforcement actions and to ensuring that directors are held personally responsible for competition law compliance, individuals and organisations should, among other things, proactively consider the extent of any potential exposure that they may face.

International Trade

Contributed by Gowling WLG
Taking back control – all you need to know but never dared to ask about the UK sanctions regime
  • United Kingdom
  • 04 June 2021

By contrast to a good part of UK law post-Brexit, the United Kingdom's autonomous sanctions regime is not a simple 'copy and paste' of existing EU law. The United Kingdom is keen to demonstrate that it is a robust player on the global stage, which includes lively sanctions activity and enforcement. As such, UK domestic legislation has introduced harsher penalties and in places goes further than the EU counterparts to which it was formerly bound.

Tariff-free trade? Understanding rules of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 April 2021

Following its exit from the European Union, a key aspect of the United Kingdom's trade policy has been to conclude free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries and trading blocs. To that end, the United Kingdom has been negotiating 'roll over' FTAs to replace the European Union ones. While FTAs offer significant benefits, they also raise new challenges for businesses which are not accustomed to navigating the complex rules of origin set out in these agreements.

The investment screening regime is coming – what should businesses be doing now?
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 March 2021

The government has published its response to the consultation on the sectors that will be subject to a mandatory notification regime under the National Security and Investment Bill. The bill proposes to create a domestic investment screening regime in the United Kingdom. This article sets out an important reminder of what businesses need to be considering now in the context of this new screening regime, particularly in light of its retrospective nature.

State of play: new subsidy control regime
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 February 2021

EU state aid law ceased to apply to the United Kingdom on the expiry of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020 – save for limited exceptions as set out in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement 2018. In its place, the UK government proposes to establish a domestic subsidy control regime, on which it has launched a public consultation. This article explores the current state of play and what will happen next.

Integrated defence and security review
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 January 2021

In September 2020 the government launched the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Foreign Policy and Development to review all aspects of international and national security policy, such as ideology, defence, diplomacy, reputation, finance, trade policy, military power and national resilience. This article provides an overview of the developments which have occurred since the review was announced and the expected findings.

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