Final decision that the CMA will not recommend replacement of the CBER
9 February 2024: The CMA has published its final decision that it will not recommend replacement of the CBER to the Secretary of State.
Consultation on the CMA’s provisional decision that the CMA will not recommend replacement of the CBER
17 November 2023: The CMA has published, for consultation, its provisional decision that it will not recommend replacement of the CBER to the Secretary of State. The CMA will consider responses to the consultation before making a final decision.
Consultation on proposed recommendation to the Secretary of State
19 January 2023: The CMA has published, for consultation, its proposed recommendations to the Secretary of State. The CMA will consider responses to the consultation before making a final recommendation to the Secretary of State later in 2023.
The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements between businesses that restrict competition in the UK (unless they meet the conditions for exemption in section 9(1) of the Competition Act or are otherwise excluded). This is known as the Chapter I prohibition.
An agreement is exempt from the Chapter I prohibition if it creates sufficient efficiencies and benefits to outweigh any anti-competitive effects. A ‘block exemption’ automatically exempts agreements of a certain category from the Chapter I prohibition if the agreement satisfies the conditions set out in the block exemption. In this way, a ‘block exemption’ provides legal certainty for businesses.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the EU block exemption regulations that were in force under EU law at the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020 were retained in UK law. For details on what the retained block exemptions cover, see Guidance on the functions of the CMA after the end of the Transition Period (paragraphs 4.31 to 4.36). Under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023, what was previously ‘retained EU law’ became ‘assimilated law’ on 1 January 2024.
The assimilated Liner Shipping Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER), which expires on 25 April 2024, sets out an automatic exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies. The CBER covers certain types of cooperation to provide joint services through ‘consortia’.
In accordance with the Competition Act 1998, the CMA has a role in advising the Secretary of State for Business and Trade (previously the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) on varying or revoking assimilated block exemption regulations, or replacing them with UK legislation when they expire.
The CMA has recently carried out reviews of the retained Vertical Block Exemption Regulation, the retained Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations, and the retained Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation.
When handling personal data (like your contact details), we comply with data protection law, as set out in the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 and other law designed to protect sensitive information.
For more information about the CMA’s statutory functions, how the CMA processes personal data and your rights relating to that personal data (including your right to complain), please visit the CMA’s Personal Information Charter.