How should competition policy react to coronavirus?

By CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie

The paper – How should competition policy react to coronavirus? – explores the short and long term consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for markets and competition.

In the short term, Lord Tyrie argues that competition policy has a crucial role to play, both in protecting consumers from exploitative practices, and in ensuring enforcement does not stand in the way of necessary business cooperation. He explains how the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has already broken new ground, performing these functions through the creation of its emergency Coronavirus Taskforce.

In the longer term, Lord Tyrie argues that the pandemic is likely to cause enduring changes to consumer behaviour, businesses, supply chains and the regulatory environment. These changes may aggravate already rising market concentration, the growing power of digital markets and deepening public distrust of markets. This is likely to create a number of major challenges for competition policy. Among the most important of these is to ensure that the temporary subordination of competition to other policy objectives in the context of the coronavirus does not become entrenched.

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