Blog o’ Blogs July

July 2016, Volume 8, Number 6

Speculation over Brexit (and later, reactions to the shocking result!) once again dominate antitrust considerations as we take a look back at the start of Summer with several important developments in June. From tightening rules and enforcement in Asia to the effects of recent changes in the USDOJ’s rules, the year truly starts to heat up!

UK Votes to Leave
By Gavin Bushell
Writing from the floor of my office, you will all now be aware that the British public voted in favour of a so-called “Brexit”, or exit from the European Union (“EU”). Before I turn the lights off, I thought I would share the following, which may be of interest to our readers, on the implications…

On Brexit- the unthinkable and unreasonable
By Alfonso Lamadrid
There are risks and dangers so great that it is hard to come to terms with the idea that they exist and may materialize. The magnitude of it all makes them seem unreal. And when they finally turn into reality, they feel like a bad dream…

Competition, innovation, and legal services
By Christopher Grengs, Bureau of Competition
The legal services marketplace, like many sectors of the economy, is experiencing dynamic change. Among other things, clients have demanded more cost-effective and efficient services, and legal services providers increasingly use computer technologies to deliver their services.

Hitachi Chemical Sentenced For Role In Capacitors Cartel
By Robert Connolly
Just as I had predicted, yesterday Judge Donato sentenced Hitachi Chemical to pay a fine of $3.8 million for its role in the capacitor cartel.

Why ports should be managed like airports
By Peter de Langen & Periklis Saragiotis
Sea transport is the cheapest form of transport and more than 75 percent of international merchandise is carried by vessels. Yet, costs are still substantially higher than they should be. This is especially evident in Africa and the Pacific where countries pay on average 40 percent to 70 percent more than developed countries for the international transport of their imports.

Brexit, Here We Come (or Go)
By Jacques Derenne, Oliver Heinisch, Wim Vandenberghe & Yaniss Aiche
The UK people have voted to leave the European Union. Although there is no constitutional duty to leave the Union as a result, politically this is likely going to happen. Change will not be immediate and happen over time.

Thinking About Consequences and the Yates Memo
Department of Justice officials have recently made several speeches trying to explain the Yates Memo. For example, On May 10, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates gave remarks at the New York City Bar Association’s white-collar crime conference…

US Department of Justice Sues North Carolina Hospital System for Insisting on Anti-Steering Provisions in Insurance Reimbursement Contracts
By David Garcia
On June 9, 2016, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DoJ”) filed a complaint against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority. The complaint accuses CHS of using “contract restrictions that prohibit commercial health insurers in the Charlotte area from offering patients financial benefits to use less expensive healthcare services offered by CHS’s competitors.”

Drug prices post-Brexit – an expensive pill to swallow?
By Farasat Bokhari
Much has already been written about the potential effects of Brexit on both the British economy as well as the rest of the word, vis-à-vis effects on immigration, employment, wages, inflation, investment, growth and so forth, and by now we know that either the sky is going to fall or it will be like manna falling from the sky.

Will much change in Antitrust post Brexit?
By Andreas Stephan
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has come as a shock to markets, politicians and indeed to many ‘Brexiteers’. Although protests demanding a reversal of the outcome and legal wrangling over Art 50  (the process for leaving the EU) continue, mainstream politicians have almost universally accepted the result

MOFCOM lifts merger control conditions on 2012 Walmart acquisition
By Adrian Emch
On 8 June 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM“) released its decision to lift the conditions it had imposed on Walmart’s acquisition of 33.6% of the shares in Newheight Holdings. This acquisition in 2012 gave Walmart corresponding rights over Yihaodian, one of China’s best-known e-commerce supermarkets…

Some “Plus” Factors Through the Eyes of An Economist
By Ai Deng
Dr. Deng picked up on a theme in a recent Cartel Capers post, (A “Quick Look” for Per Se Illegal Conduct), and has added some helpful thoughts on the types of economic decisions a firm can make that may later be viewed as a “plus factor” to sustain an antitrust claim.

The battle between the European Union’s competition and agricultural policies
In late 2015, a case before the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) addressed the tensions between the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and EU competition policy.