The Tribunal of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) was convened for an Extraordinary Judgment Session yesterday (5/28) to decide whether collaboration between competitors in the current moment of crisis would constitute an infringement of the economic order. The case was brought to court by a group of competing companies, which had both their identity and operating market preserved. They performed a joint collaboration project to minimize the effects of the crisis, due to COVID-19, which resulted in a Memorandum of Understandings signed on 5/11.
CADE understood that this is not a case of mandatory notification. Thus, there is no need for antitrust authorization. However, it was clear that the case was regarding collaboration between competitors in the middle of the pandemic crisis being faced currently. The decision was that there is no evidence of attempts to implement an anti-competitive practice, since(i) the cooperation between competitors has an emergency nature, with the aim of mitigating the effects of the crisis and generating welfare for consumers; (ii) a time limit has already been defined, as the agreement is expected to run until October 31 and may be extended, if the pandemic scenario changes. In this case, the extension of the period must obligatorily be communicated to CADE in advance; (iii) there is no exchange of commercially and competitively sensitive information between the parties; and (iv) decisions will be maintained independently by each company.
CADE will follow up on the reports, concerning the measures adopted, to ensure that no harmful act to the competition is being practiced.