The Singaporean Competition Authority issues a new general guidance note to provide businesses with more clarity on common horizontal, vertical and lateral collaborations between competitors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

CCCS proposes general guidance on common collaborations between competitors

Unlike the lapsed COVID-19 Guidance Note, the new Business Collaboration Guidance Note would apply to all types of products and services, and would not have an expiry date.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore ("CCCS") proposes to issue the new Business Collaboration Guidance Note (currently in draft) to provide businesses with more clarity on common horizontal, vertical and lateral collaborations between competitors. Its predecessor, the expired COVID-19 Guidance Note (see here), exceptionally assumed that under certain conditions, collaborations between competitors to sustain or improve the supply of essential goods and services are unlikely to infringe Section 34 of the Competition Act ("Act") (i.e., prohibition against anti-competitive agreements, also known as the "Section 34 Prohibition").

The draft Business Collaboration Guidance Note covers six common types of business collaborations (i.e., information sharing, joint production, joint commercialisation, joint purchasing, joint research and development, and standardisation) and clarifies how the CCCS will assess whether such collaborations are anti-competitive (e.g., by considering factors such as market shares and market structure). The CCCS emphasises that where these business collaborations facilitate price-fixing, bid-rigging, output limitation and market sharing, they will always be considered to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition.

The draft Business Collaboration Guidance Note also reminds businesses that local collaborations can be subject to competition law in affected overseas markets, including within the ASEAN jurisdictions.

The CCCS completed its public consultation on 27 August 2021 and has yet officially issued the Business Collaboration Guidance Note.

PDF Version

Authors

  • Baker McKenzie (Singapore)
  • Baker McKenzie (Singapore)

Quotation

Ken Chia, Harikumar Pillay, The Singaporean Competition Authority issues a new general guidance note to provide businesses with more clarity on common horizontal, vertical and lateral collaborations between competitors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 July 2021, e-Competitions July 2021, Art. N° 104595

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