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Johanna Bjurling, Johan Sahl, Aug 12, 2014
How do you give accurate, simple, and useful guidance in an area of competition law where the knee-jerk answer to most questions tends to be: “It depends”? This was the challenge the Swedish Competition Authority set itself when we decided to develop a web-based interactive guidance for companies wishing to collaborate in procurement. Our primary focus group was small and medium sized enterprises with none or little previous experience in competition law. A few months later the project was completed and launched in tandem with a road-show at various industry organizations.
The purpose of the guidance was to offer clearer guidance on when, and in what circumstances, companies are allowed to cooperate when tendering for contracts in a procurement context. Perhaps due to the sparse case law on the subject both in Sweden and at EU level, the SCA had seen signs that companies as well as purchasers often have a hard time identifying where the line is drawn between competitive and anticompetitive cooperation. As a consequence, the SCA has had a number of cases over the last couple of years concerning potentially illegal cooperation, particularly in the context of public procurement. We felt there was a need to couple that enforcement work with more preventive outreach work, assisting companies in this matter at an earlier stage.
So, why guidance on this particular topic…