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Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today welcomed the passing of a bill that will benefit businesses and consumers by providing greater certainty for firms to collaborate and compete.

The Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill allows for a wider range of collaboration between firms to help them to produce new products at lower cost. 

“Joint ventures are a great example of collaboration. They can help businesses innovate and help exporters tap into overseas markets,” Ms Dean says.

“A new clearance regime will be established so that firms can test their proposed collaboration with the Commerce Commission and get greater legal certainty before they enter into the arrangements.

The Bill also provides further protection from anticompetitive behaviour. New legislation now expands the range of prohibited conduct to include price fixing, restricting output, and allocating markets.

“The changes in the Bill make it easier to take enforcement action against international cartels and provide further protection for consumers from anticompetitive collusion.

“Other changes include bringing competition oversight of international shipping into the Commerce Act.

“We’re working hard to grow the economy in a number of ways - promoting competition in markets so Kiwi consumers have a range of choices is just one of them,” Ms Dean says. 

Most of the changes will come into effect straight away and will be enforced by the Commerce Commission. The new provisions dealing with international liner shipping will come into effect in two years.

There’s more information on the Cartels Bill at: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/competition-policy/cartel-reform

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