Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission plans to commission Brexit Research

Ireland's competition and consumer protection agency is the "Competition and Consumer Protection Commission" ("CCPC").  

On 3 September 2017, the CCPC published its annual report for 2016. The report identifies the need to prepare for the implications of Brexit and the need to keep Ireland attractive to foreign direct investment. Interestingly, on Brexit, the CCPC makes the observation:

"The most fundamental challenge ahead for Ireland’s markets and for our work will be the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union. From an economic point of view, most of the focus in Ireland to date has been on exports – understandably so, given that Ireland is a small open economy with a very high level of international trade. We also are concerned about the impact of Brexit on imports - in particular, the potential for both tariff and non-tariff barriers to raise prices and reduce choice for consumers. As an organisation, we will be ready to anticipate and react to the changing circumstances. Given Ireland’s history and geographic location, Brexit obviously raises serious issues regarding the free movement of people, the possible reinstatement of a hard border and the impact on competitiveness. The CCPC will have to be a strong advocate on behalf of consumers, as well as a respected enforcer against breaches of the law. To support our work we intend to commission research to quantify the potential impact of Brexit on everyday consumer goods."

It is quite possible that the CCPC will end up with cases on Brexit because businesses will co-operate too closely on dealing with Brexit through, for example, anti-competitive exchanges of information or collective boycotts and cartels. Just as the CCPC will be watching out for such breaches of competition law, businesses need to be careful not to engage in anti-competitive behaviour or arrangements trying to address the obvious serious implications of Brexit.

For more information, contact Dr Vincent J G Power or a member of the Brexit Team at A&L Goodbody.

Date Published: 11 September 2017