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Brexit and Competition Law: The End of the Beginning

Firm Thought Leadership

The EU and the UK have now both set out their negotiating mandates for the forthcoming trade negotiations. On 25 February 2020, the Council of the EU adopted a formal decision authorising the commencement of trade negotiations with the UK, together with a revised version of the European Commission’s mandate for the negotiations. The UK released its position on the future relationship two days later,i seeking a so-called “Canada-style” arrangement. Formal negotiations begin this week ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.ii In principle, the parties will meet every 2-3 weeks with the possibility for more frequent informal discussions.

The CMA has been preparing for some time to take on an active and meaningful role as a domestic competition authority on a global stage. It has already assumed a significant role in major transactions, particularly those with a US dimension, and is pursuing investigations in a variety of sectors, including pharma and aviation. In addition, the announcement of a market study and review of online platforms and digital advertising with a final report due in July 2020 would appear to set the tone for its future enforcement activities and the scope for international influence.

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