The House of Lords EU Committee has published its report into the implications of Brexit for competition law and State aid control in the UK. In particular, the report recommends that the UK maintains consistency with the EU’s economic efficiency and consumer welfare-based approach to competition law policy, while considering those areas where the UK could take a more innovative and responsive approach to enforcement, including in relation to fast-moving digital markets and online platforms. On State aid, the report concludes that it is highly likely that some form of State aid control will be required in any future UK-EU trade agreement, potentially along with a domestic UK State aid authority (and indeed, the importance of maintaining a level playing field in relation to State aid, has been highlighted in a recently published Commission discussion paper).
Herbert Smith Freehills provided evidence in relation to State aid and related international trade law issues, which the report draws on in many places. Notably, we proposed that there is likely to be a link between the level of access to the EU internal market and the degree of parallel State aid control required under a future UK-EU trade agreement, a premise that was accepted in the report. Our evidence was prepared by State aid and international trade lawyers Lode Van Den Hende, Eric White and Morris Schonberg.