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Thursday, 10 January 2019

Cabinet approves proposed amendments to Egypt’s Competition Act

CABINET WATCH- The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday proposed amendments to the Competition Act (or Antitrust Act) that are meant to increase regulation against monopolistic practices and help protect competition in Egypt, according to a statement. The amendments would ban collusion in any form between competitors in any industry — including coordinating on whether or not to enter auctions and tenders, or production strategies — if said collusion is meant to effect a change in market prices and stability. The amendments would also grant the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) with the jurisdiction to investigate and gather evidence on suspected incidents of anti-competitive practices.

Did the ECA just get its New Year’s wish? While the details are lacking, this is looking like the key piece of legislation the ECA has been looking to push through to get sweeping new powers. The ECA had been attempting to have sign off powers on M&As worth more than EGP 100 mn. Recently, the ECA has been on a campaign against high profile cases it deemed to violate the Competition Act. These include issuing warnings to Uber and Careem over talks of a merger, and slapping Apple with a warning over the distribution of its products in Egypt.

The Council of Ministers also signed off yesterday on:

  • Amendments to the country’s penal code imposing fines and prison time on civil servants found guilty of transgressing on land or buildings;
  • A EUR 350 mn loan agreement from the European Investment Bank to finance the development of Cairo Metro Line 1;
  • A loan agreement with Italy to support Egypt’s private sector growth;
  • A bundle of decisions from the Cabinet’s investment dispute resolution committee.

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