COVID-19 and Competition Authorities
Since its emergence in late December, COVID-19 has reshaped the world’s markets. Bans on travel and gatherings have hollowed out the transport and tourism sectors, while containment measures of various forms affecting over 40% of the entire global population have caused the widespread closure of establishments and driven an unprecedented shift to home working. Added to this, supply issues, together with stockpiling activity and demand shifts, have caused product shortages around the world.
In this environment, competition authorities globally are being pulled in multiple directions, with traditional competition enforcement taking somewhat of a back seat to newer and fast-moving issues. Such issues include grappling with: (i) the reorganisation of administrative priorities in response to capacity-based or other technical restraints; (ii) the need for collaboration between competing businesses in certain sectors; and (iii) the urgent grant of State support to save private entities at risk of failure – in all cases seeking to avoid the unintended consequences of harmful anti-competitive conduct.