The Brazilian Federal Senate approves a bill which amends private legal relations and affects the enforcement of the Brazilian antitrust law during the COVID-19 outbreak

Tthe Brazilian Federal Senate approved last Friday (April 3rd) the Bill No. 1,179/20, which amends private legal relations during the Covid-19 pandemic and also affects the enforcement of Law No. 12,529/11 (“Brazilian Antitrust Law”). We highlight that the referred Bill is still subject to the approval of the Chamber of Representatives and presidential sanction.

With respect to antitrust matters, the following aspects were approved on a temporary and exceptional basis (same content follows attached):

Temporary suspension of the need for prior approval for joint ventures, consortia and associative agreements

The Bill is not totally clear and can still be modified by the Chamber of Deputies, but, in short, the following aspects were covered:

  • The suspension applies to agreements entered into as of March 20th, 2020 and effective until the end of October 2020.
  • The suspension applies to agreements related to fighting or mitigating the consequences of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Temporary Exemption for Specific Practices

  • The exemption is valid from March 20th, 2020 until the end of October 2020, for the following practices classified as antitrust violations under the Brazilian Antitrust Law: (i) unjustified sale below the cost; and (ii) partially or totally cease the company’s activities without proven cause.
  • The justification for such suspension is connected to the scarcity of services and products in view of the critical nature of the pandemic period.
  • For other practices executed after March 20th, 2020 and while the state of national public calamity lasts, CADE should consider the extraordinary circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic in its antitrust analysis.

We are closely monitoring the developments of the discussions within the Legislative branch and will keep you posted on any relevant updates.

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Marcio de Carvalho Silveira Bueno, Eduardo Caminati Anders, The Brazilian Federal Senate approves a bill which amends private legal relations and affects the enforcement of the Brazilian antitrust law during the COVID-19 outbreak, 3 April 2020, e-Competitions April 2020, Art. N° 94171

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