Competition (antitrust) law

Knowing the basics of competition law is essential for keeping your business on the straight and narrow – especially if you’re thinking about partnering with other exporters, or with potential competitors.

Most countries have competition laws (also called antitrust laws). Competition law protects and promotes competition between firms, to make sure that they act ethically towards each other and consumers.

Competition law usually covers various anti-competitive actions, such as:

  • companies agreeing to fix their prices

  • companies using their market power to reduce competition

  • mergers or agreements that substantially lessen competition in a market.

New Zealand's competition laws are contained in the Commerce Act 1986, and are enforced by the Commerce Commission. You can find clear, useful summaries of these laws on the Commerce Commission’s website.

Most overseas countries have competition laws similar to those in New Zealand’s Commerce Act. However, many of them apply stricter penalties, including treating price-fixing as a criminal offence.

Get detailed advice from lawyers in New Zealand and the countries where you export, to make sure you’re in line with the relevant competition laws for your business.

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