On 19th February 2015, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”), represented by its President Mr. Giovanni Pitruzzella and the General Command of the Italian Finance Police (the “IFP”), namely General Saverio Capolupo, subscribed to the new memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) to improve cooperation between them for the protection of competition and consumers.
The new MOU, which renews the partnership between the two authorities, encompasses new areas of focus entrusted with the ICA over the last years. In particular, the reinforced cooperation will help fight unfair commercial practices and fraud in the trade of agricultural products.
The MOU shall also reinforce the operational synergies between the ICA and the IFP and provide specific training for the officers of both the ICA and the IFP.
The MOU pointed out the importance that free competition has in the economic development of the country and in the technological progress.
The ICA also announced that, because of the MOU, investigations on alleged anti-competitive practice shall be carried out more effectively.
In light of the above, the ICA is expected to increase its investigations on anti-competitive practises in the near future and this, along with subsequent enforcement action, can be considered a high profile step towards free competition in Italy. However, it is important that the MOU will not end up to encouraging investigation abuses.