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EU to relax cartel rules to help ease supply chain disruptions caused by sanctions on Russia

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By Reuters
EU to relax cartel rules to help ease supply chain disruptions caused by sanctions on Russia
EU to relax cartel rules to help ease supply chain disruptions caused by sanctions on Russia   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS – The EU Commission will temporarily loosen its cartel rules so that thousands of companies in the European Union whose supply chains are disrupted by sanctions on Russia could team up to buy, supply or distribute scare products without violating competition regulations.

The EU executive issued on Monday its guidance jointly with national competition watchdogs and the EFTA Surveillance Authority after scores of businesses sought advice on how to deal with the disruption caused by the sanctions.

“This type of cooperation (between companies) would likely either not amount to a restriction of competition or generate efficiencies that would most likely outweigh any such restriction,” the antitrust authorities said.

“(EU regulators) will not actively intervene against strictly necessary and temporary initiatives specifically targeted at avoiding the severe disruptions caused by the impact of the war and/or of sanctions in the single market,” they said.

The regulators, however, warned against companies exploiting the situation to set up cartels or abuse their market dominance. Companies breaching EU antitrust rules face fines of as much as 10% of their global turnover.