The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee, chaired by Lord Whitty, has decided to launch an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on UK competition policy. The inquiry will explore the opportunities and challenges of leaving the EU for antitrust rules, merger control and state aid, as well as considering the potential future relationship between UK and EU competition authorities. See here.
On State aid, the Committee has said it would like to hear evidence on the following issues: –
(1) Are state aid provisions likely to form an essential component of any future trade agreement between the UK and EU? Do any existing trade agreements between the EU and third countries provide a useful precedent for future UK-EU state aid arrangements?
(2) Will the UK require a domestic state aid authority after Brexit?
(3) What would be the opportunities and challenges for state aid or subsidy controls in the UK if no trade agreement were to be reached with the EU? Would WTO anti-subsidy rules restrict the UK’s ability to support industries, or individual companies, through favourable tax arrangements?
(4) How will the Government’s industrial strategy shape its approach to state aid after Brexit? To what extent has the European Commission’s state aid policy limited interventions that the UK Government may have otherwise pursued?
(5) What, if any role, might the devolved institutions play in UK state aid control post-Brexit? Are there any potential implications for the UK internal market?
(6) Will it be necessary for the UK and EU to agree a transitional arrangement for state aid matters after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU? If so, what transitional issues would such an arrangement need to address?
The UK State Aid Law Association has already prepared papers (available on this website here and here) on possible State aid regimes post-Brexit that address many of these issues. But we shall be submitting further evidence to the inquiry.
Any members who would like to contribute to that process should either post a blog in response or send me comments by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). As the submission deadline is 15 September, any thoughts by 6 September, please.
GEORGE PERETZ QC