According to the CADE website, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense decided to authorize the collaboration between a group of competing companies as a measure to minimize the effects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19.
In an extraordinary session of judgment, the CADE ratified an order from the General Superintendence which concluded that there is a plausible economic justification for the agreement and the parties adopted protocols to prevent antitrust risks, that there was no evidence of attempted anticompetitive practice, and that there is a concern on the part of companies in restoring competitiveness and normality in the sector.
The agreement is expected to run until October 31, 2020, and may be extended if the pandemic scenario evolves. In this case, the extension of the term must necessarily be communicated to CADE in advance.
When authorizing the collaboration between companies, CADE relied on international recommendations from the respected institutions, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Competition Network (ICN).
In addition to having a limited term, the agreement does not involve the coordination of commercial actions, which will be defined and implemented individually by the companies and without any interaction between the participants of the initiative. The activities carried out also do not involve the exchange of competitively sensitive information between the parties, for example, customer databases between companies. Besides, precautions must be implemented to prevent risks of antitrust nature at meetings of committees and subcommittees related to the activities provided for in the agreement.
President Alexandre Barreto stressed that the agreement is an exceptional measure - "In this sense, I emphasize that the exceptionality of this measure does not constitute antitrust immunity. This petition is not granting immunity to petitioners, so there is no impediment to this Council, in the event of observing any irregularities in the terms presented or practices potentially harmful to competition under this agreement, it is important to take the applicable measures."