Well attended 20th St. Gallen Competition Law Forum ICF
180 participants from Switzerland and the other EFTA countries, the European Union, the US, Africa and Russia attended the 20th St. Gallen International Competition Law Forum which took place on 4 and 5 April 2013 in the historic hall of the St. Gallen Cantonal Parliament. The conference dealt first and foremost with topics that were of high interest for practicioners from all the branches of the legal profession. Panels were held on the gathering of digital evidence in dawn raids, antitrust problems of joint ventures, the role of economics in antitrust, the application of competition law in a recession, oligopolies and structural remedies, vertical restraints, and competition law issues in the online world. A novelty was the “Presidents’ Breakfast” on the second day which featured the heads of the competition authorities of Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland. It became clear that many problems are posed in the same or a similar way in different jurisdictions. There is, for example, a general trend towards a constitutionalization and humanrightization of antitrust law all over Europe.
On the other hand, current legislative and political developments such as amendments of the competition acts in Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, the imminent signature of the Cooperation Agreement EU-Switzerland and the proliferation of competition agencies in the whole world were discussed. There was not a single speaker or participant who got something out of the planned new Article 7a of the Swiss Cartel Act which imposes an obligation to contract on foreign suppliers who discriminate against Swiss buyers independently of whether they enjoy a dominant position or not.
The 20th ICF was characterized by the St. Gallen spirit of openness which manifests itself in particular in lively discussions.