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France is the world leader in anti-competitive repression, with €1.8 billion in fines in 2020




The "Global antitrust enforcement" report lists the amount of sanctions imposed worldwide for anti-competitive measures (cover of the Allen & Overy report).
The "Global antitrust enforcement" report lists the amount of sanctions imposed worldwide for anti-competitive measures (cover of the Allen & Overy report).
WORLD. According to the report "Global antitrust enforcement" published Monday, February 22, 2021 by Allen & Overy, France has imposed nearly €1.8 billion in financial sanctions on companies found guilty of anti-competitive measures in 2020. If this amount, grouping together eleven decisions, makes it the most severe country in the world, it must however be weighted. This record is mainly explained by the record fine of €1.2 billion imposed on Apple by the French Competition Authority in March 2020. The highest ever imposed. It could moreover be revised downwards, as the American giant has appealed this decision.

On the other hand, the total fines imposed in cartel cases, which correspond to the majority of the French Competition Authority's decisions, were around €98 million, well below the €480 million for 2019. In July 2020, it fined twelve French companies more than €93 million for cartel agreements on the price of charcuterie.

The United States reached a figure of €451 million, the highest level since 2015. The European Commission recorded a significant decrease in fines to €369.5 million in 2020, compared to €1.5 billion in 2019 and €801 million in 2018. However, it is true that in 2019, only one case, the "Forex" cartel, contributed €1 billion to this result. The fact remains, as Allen & Overy notes, that "this is the first time since 2015 that it has not been at the top of the most severe competition authorities in terms of repression of anti-competitive practices".

 

The EU negotiates in 40% of the procedures

The amount of the fines levied against anti-competitive measures around the world (map: Allen & Overy)
The amount of the fines levied against anti-competitive measures around the world (map: Allen & Overy)
The London-based business law firm (5,400 people including 554 partners in 44 offices worldwide) notes that the number of fines related to anti-competitive practices (cartels, vertical restraints and abuse of dominant position) is down sharply from 2019. The authors of the study explain this by "the obstacles to investigation procedures resulting from the international health context". They therefore expect a catch-up phenomenon as early as 2021, both in terms of the number of operations and the amounts imposed.

"The digital giants have been particularly scrutinized by anti-trust authorities around the world, who are seeking to put in place a new framework to regulate them. Major cases have been brought against the GAFA in Europe and the United States, and are expected to accelerate further in 2021," the report said.

The document says that negotiated procedures continue to develop around the world. In 2020, they accounted for 50% of cartel cases in Spain, 40% in the European Union, 33% in Italy, Turkey and Thailand, 29% in the United Kingdom, 20% in France and 12% in China. Hungary stands out for having handled 100% of the cases identified through negotiation.

Read the full report "Global antitrust enforcement" by Allen & Overy

 

Frédéric Dubessy


Tuesday, February 23rd 2021



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