Becket McGrath quoted in GCR article: “CMA proposes regulatory reform to combat big tech”

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has called for a new regime to regulate the online economy, after its digital advertising study found the market power of Google and Facebook is causing substantial harm to “society as a whole”.

The enforcer today asked the UK government to create a digital markets unit and empower it to break up big tech companies and enforce a code of conduct among online platforms to resolve competition concerns in that sector. It did not specify if the new unit should function within an existing body or be created as a new standalone regulator.

The EU enforcer launched a public consultation on its proposed market investigations tool in May. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has cited the CMA’s similar power as an efficient way of tackling competition concerns in fast-moving markets.

Euclid Law partner Becket McGrath, who advised a publisher during the UK enforcer’s market study, said it is understandable why the CMA asked the government to introduce a new regulatory regime. Conduct that is not good for competition does not necessarily infringe antitrust law, but it could be addressed through careful, targeted regulation, he said.

Combating concerns related to the market power of big tech requires difficult public policy trade-offs that extend well beyond competition law, McGrath added. 

“With all these moving pieces, there has to come a point when the CMA, as an independent and unelected agency, hands over to the government,” he said.

McGrath also questioned if the UK could effectively implement some of the CMA’s proposals without aligning with reforms emerging elsewhere, particularly in the EU. “Solutions need to be closely coordinated – it’s not good for businesses if there is too much divergence,” he warned.

To read the full article on GCR website, click here.

STUDY ON THE VERTICAL INTEGRATION OF PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY ORGANISATIONS AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE MARKET

Prepared for Expra by Oliver Bretz and Daniele Pinto – March 2020

This report aims at identifying in greater detail how the vertical integration of industry players from different levels of the packaging waste recovery cycle may have anti-competitive effects in the waste recovery market.

Commissioned and funded by EXPRA aisbl/ivzw, the alliance of 26 non-profit packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling systems from 24 countries which are owned by package producers and importers.

The report was prepared by Euclid Law with complete independence, and its findings are based on the available evidence applied to legal and economic theory in the field of theories of harm to competition caused by vertical concentrations. It gives a general overview of the EU Extended Producer Responsibility policy and the market that it has created in Member States, applies legal and economic theory of competition to the context of vertically-integrated Producer Responsibility Organisations and also relies on concrete examples collected through a survey of waste recovery markets in the 24 countries where EXPRA’s members operate.

Finally, based on the available evidence, this report draws conclusions and makes recommendations to reduce the risk of harm to competition arising from vertical integration in EU waste recovery markets.

To read the full report, please follow the link.