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TD&A NEWS: Participation at EU Competition and Consumer Conference in Malta

Monday, 01 May 2017 17:45

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall, Senior Partner at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates participated at a conference organized as part of the official program of events scheduled during the six months Malta’s EU Presidency – Malta EU2017.

The well attended conference with over 200 participants from all Member States, was held at the Radisson Hotel in St Julian’s between the 23rd and 24th April, 2017 specifically to coincide with the EU Consumer and Competition Day.

The conference was opened by the Hon. Minister Dr Helena Dalli responsible for Consumer Affairs and Competition and Ign. Helga Pizzuto, Chairperson of the Malta Competition and Consumers Affairs Authority and attracted key note speakers on the subjects so discussed during the conference, including Johannes Laitenberger, Director General, DG Competition, Francisco Fonseca Morillo, Deputy Director, DG Justice and Consumers, Ulrich Kelber, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Germany, Olga Sehnalova, MEP, Member of IMCO Committee, Marie Paule Benassi, Head of Unit, Enforcement of Consumer Law and Redress, DG Justice and Consumers, Kris Dekeyser, Policy Director, DG Competition and Gianluca Sepe from the Italian Competition Authority.

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall was chosen as moderator of the second panel at the conference which addressed the topic “Business Practices in e-commerce. Is competition being stifled?” which panel had four distinguished expert speakers: Jacque Steenbergen, President of the Belgian Competition Authority, Guido Lubrano, Deputy Director, IMLAD, Business Europe, Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General, BEUC and Thomas Kramler, Head of the Digital Single Market Task Force, DG Competition.

In Brief, Dr Tanti-Dougall introduced the subject for discussion, e-Commerce, as rapidly growing in Europe with some 296 million on-line shoppers and total sales of almost € 510 billion in 2016. As was the case for the last years, the United Kingdom, France and Germany are clearly the major e-Commerce countries in Europe and in 2015 together, they accounted for more than 60 percent of all online business on the European scenario. In fact, with € 157.1 billion, the United Kingdom is leading in B2C e-Commerce market with 43.4 million online shoppers whilst Germany has had 51.6 million online shoppers last year. However, notwithstanding, he explained that there existed a number of issues with were deemed to be anti-competition such as geo-blocking that were required to be addressed by the EU.

The successful conference was closed by Godwin Mangion, Director General [Competition] within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

 

 

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TD&A NEWS: Paper on Resolution 2309 published in Aviation Security International

Saturday, 15 April 2017 23:43

A paper entitled “The UN Security Council Resolution: squaring the circle?” by Dr Rebekah Tanti-Dougall, Senior Associate at Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates, has featured in the April 2017 Edition [Volume 23, Issue 2] of the prestigious publication ‘Aviation Security International’ - The Global Journal of Airport & Aviation Security. [To download relative article, kindly click on the paper's title above].

In brief, in September 2016, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2309 (2016) at is 7775th meeting, focusing on Aviation Security, recognizing the vital importance of the aviation system for the global economy and called upon the ICAO Member States to ensure that security standards are continuously reviewed and implemented to adapt effectively to threats perpetuated by terrorists. States and organizations are expected to assist each other in delivery of capacity building, strengthen security screening procedures and promote innovation in technologies and techniques to maximize the capability to detect security threats.

Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates provide various aviation related services including aircraft registration, airport emergency plans, airport security and advice on aviation cyber terrorism.

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TD&A NEWS: Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates feature in Yachting in Malta [2017-2018 Edition]

Saturday, 15 April 2017 23:26

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates features in the Twelfth Edition [2017-2018] of prestigious publication "Yachting in Malta", which is deemed as a comprehensive yachting industry directory carrying all related information any person operating in the industry would need including information about all existing marinas in Malta and Gozo, the benefits of the Malta flag, yacht repairs facilities, maritime museums in Malta and yacht chartering.

"Yachting in Malta" is a Wilfred Sultana & Associates publication.

Advocates,Tanti-Dougall & Associates provide a number of maritime related services including ship and yacht registration.

 

 

COMPETITION LAW NEWS: EU fines Eleven Airlines Euros 800,000 for price-fixing cartel

Saturday, 15 April 2017 23:14

On March 17th, 2017, the European Commission issued a press release relative to the re-adoption of a fine imposed thereby on eleven [11] air cargo carriers for a price fixing cartel operated by the airlines between December 1999 and February 2006, in the airfreight services market covering flights from, to and within the European Economic Area.

The fine imposed amounted to € 776,465,000.

The cartel arrangements consisted of numerous contacts between airlines, at both bilateral and multilateral level to fix the level of fuel and security surcharges. It is interesting to note that the Commission's original decision of 2010 was annulled by the General Court on procedural grounds. In December 2015, the Court annulled the Commission's 2010 decision after finding a discrepancy between the reasoning and operative part of the decision. The reasoning part of the decision described the infringement as a single and continuous infringement covering all addressees. However, some articles of the operative part suggested that there were four separate infringements with only some addressees participating in all four. The Commission's March 2017 Decision addresses the Court's conclusions by bringing the operative part in line with the reasoning part.

All carriers except Qantas appealed to the EU's General Court against the Commission's 2010 decision. Since Qantas did not appeal, the 2010 Decision became final or res iudicata on the Australian airline.

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, is quoted to have said that: “Millions of businesses depend on air cargo services, which carry more than 20% of all EU imports and nearly 30% of EU exports. Working together in a cartel rather than competing to offer better services to customers does not fly with the Commission. Today's decision ensures that companies that were part of the air cargo cartel are sanctioned for their behaviour.”

The companies then fined in 2010 were Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, Qantas, SAS and Singapore Airlines. A 12th cartel member, Lufthansa, and its subsidiary, Swiss International Air Lines, received full immunity from fines. Indeed, the investigation was instigated as a result of an immunity application by Lufthansa filed in December 2005. In February 2006, the Commission carried out unannounced inspections better known as ‘dawn raids’, at the premises of a number of providers of airfreight services.

All but one of the companies (Qantas) subject to the 2010 decision challenged the decision before the EU's General Court. In December 2015, the General Court annulled the Commission's decision against the eleven [11] cartel participants that appealed, concluding that there had been a procedural error. However, it did not rule on the existence of the cartel.

The Commission has maintained that these air cargo carriers participated in a price-fixing cartel and is adopting a new decision and re-establishing the fines. This new decision addresses the procedural error identified by the General Court while remaining identical in terms of the anti-competitive behaviours targeted by the Commission.

The decision confirms that the Commission will not let cartels go unpunished. Cartels are illegal and cause consumers and business to suffer.