PracticePeople In PracticeEC concerns over B2B exchanges

EC concerns over B2B exchanges

Brussels could still block the development of multimillion pound European business-to-business exchanges despite a decision to give the go-ahead to an on-line marketplace to supply the aerospace industry.

European Commission competition authorities last week gave the go-ahead to MyAircraft.com after a month long investigation into the exchange which included a close examination of possible price fixing.

The joint venture, set up by US-based multinationals Honeywell and United Technologies, offers ‘one-stop shopping’ and supply management across the aerospace sector.

An EC spokesman said: ‘The commission found no competition problems, but we should not assume that will be the case with all the others.’

Fears had been raised in Brussels that B2B internet markets could create anti-competition cartels, and allow buyers and sellers to engage in price fixing.

An EC spokesman said: ‘If companies are getting together to sell, it could pose problems if they are not competing properly with each other.’

Motor industry giants Ford Motor, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Renault/Nissan were due to formally notify Brussels of their proposed car parts exchange Covisint, which will cater for a procurement budget in excess of $250bn.

Last month the commission said it would set up an anti-trust team to co-ordinate policy on cross-industry electronic exchanges, after giving the go-ahead to its first B2B exchange, an online office equipment market.

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