March 12 2004. The Government is to proceed with the realignment of EU and UK competition law and repeal the current exclusion for vertical agreements (between firms at different levels of the supply chain) from the scope of the Competition Act.

This completes the Government's response to two consultations on competition law. Plans to implement Regulation 1/2003 EC will place national competition authorities and courts in the driving seat for the bulk of competition law enforcement. The realignment of the UK Competition Act 1998 is necessary to ensure that competition authorities act consistently when they are applying UK or EC law.

There will be a transitional period of one year from 1st May 2004 so that the repeal of the domestic exclusion for vertical agreements will not take effect until 1st May 2005. The transitional period gives a breathing space so that any changes are made in a managed way.

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