President of the Swiss WEKO, Vincent Martenet, about the development within the Swiss cartel law

General Director Dr. Thanner extended an invitation on December 5th 2011 regarding the Public Speech of President Martenet shortly after the yearly bilateral meeting between BWB and WEKO.

Focus of Martenet`s presentation was the cooperation between the Swiss Competition Commission and the European DG Competition, the evaluation of Compliance as well as the possible changes currently being discussed within the Swiss Cartel law.

International exchange of information necessary

Vincent Martenet firstly pointed out the difficulty of exchanging information between the DG Comp and the Swiss CompetitionCommission. At this point double investigations and double procedure must be made, if a cartel law breach in Switzerland and in the EU occurs. This is the result of a non-existing cooperation agreement which however is being intensely worked on since March 2011. To be able to combat cartels more efficiently, it is of upmost importance to cooperate internationally.

Enhancement of cartel law

Similar as in Austria there has been an amendment regarding the cartel law in Switzerland. The implementation of a total cartel ban regarding horizontal and vertical agreements, whereby the justification factor of cartels is diminished and the verifiability of agreements is being alleviated.

Same as in Austria the establishment of the SIEC Test during company mergers is being reviewed.

The majority is in agreement when it comes down to questioning, if the authority to decide and the evaluation of authority should be performed in conjunction by the WEKO, as a splitting would be unreasonable, interminable and troublesome.

Compliance as an extenuating cause?

- was the final discussed point of the agenda. While in Switzerland, Compliance as defined by the law is being discussed as an extenuating cause regarding a cartel breach, during the event it was agreed upon, that these circumstances should rather be hindering. As soon as companies knowingly offense the cartel law and are aware of the extent due to the information and training received during the compliance schooling, the deliberateness should be penalized on a larger scale.