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Antitrust and Brexit – where do we stand?

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Balfour Alasdair
Alasdair Balfour

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Mark Friend

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Dominic Long

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Mansfield Philip
Philip Mansfield

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Tolley Louise
Louise Tolley

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12 January 2021

The end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020 gives rise to significant changes to the application of antitrust and merger control rules in the UK.

Now that the UK is no longer an EU Member State, it gains new freedom to pursue its own enforcement and policy agenda. While the Christmas Eve agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK (Future Relationship Agreement) makes some provision for a level playing field for “open and fair competition”, it is for the most part framed broadly – that both parties will maintain an effective competition law, with an independent authority to enforce the rules. The UK therefore retains a wide discretion to chart its own course.

Our article explores what Brexit means for merger control, antitrust investigations and enforcement and State aid/subsidies, and how this is likely to impact business.

If you are interested in learning more about the impact of Brexit on your business, please refer to the Brexit publications section of our website.

the bottom line is that companies active in the UK and the EU are now subject to parallel regimes, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority having the ability to review (potentially identical) transactions and behaviour alongside the European Commission

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