Australia’s competition regulator is teaming up with counterparts across the “five eyes” nations to prevent anti-competitive conduct in global supply chains.
The five authorities, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other equivalent competition watchdogs in Canada, New Zealand and the UK, will share intelligence on anti-competitive behaviour.
As freight rates balloon to about seven times higher than before the pandemic and the expense of some goods rises, the working group is watching for cartels and firms with market power creating exclusionary arrangements.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said cooperation was needed given the complexity of global freight supply chains.
“The purpose of this working group is to detect any attempts by businesses to use these conditions as a cover to work together and fix prices,” Sims said in a statement.
“We will be sharing intelligence to identify any behaviour that restricts or distorts competition, and companies are now on notice that the ACCC and its international counterparts will be ready to act.”
The ACCC found in November that a number of Australian exporters were struggling to meet their contractual obligations due to delayed shipments and rapidly rising freight rates last year.
The new working group will complement formal and informal agreements the ACCC has had with the international agencies, including the FBI, to monitor anti-competitive behaviour, set up in 2019.