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Laurie-Anne Grelier

Laurie-Anne Grelier Laurie-Anne Grelier assists global companies, especially Asian multinationals, with navigating complex areas of European competition law, including antitrust and cartel investigations, the clearance of mergers, the structuring of distribution, collaborative and other commercial arrangements, and issues related to abuse of dominant position. Ms. Grelier also assists these companies in litigation before the European Courts, as well as with state aid and trade matters.

On 18 July 2024, the current President of the European Commission (“Commission”), Ursula von der Leyen, was reconfirmed by the European Parliament for a second 5-year term. As part of her reconfirmation, President von der Leyen delivered a speech before the European Parliament, complemented by a 30-page program, which lays down the Commission’s political program for the next five years.

A key pillar of the program – “A new plan for Europe’s sustainable prosperity and competitiveness” – has the objective of combining competitiveness and prosperity with the achievement of the European Green Deal goals.

Specifically on competition policy, according to President von der Leyen, a new approach is needed to achieve this objective. This blog post projects where competition policy is likely headed in the 2024-2029 period by commenting on the most relevant paragraphs of the program.

Von der Leyen: “I believe we need a new approach to competition policy, better geared to our common goals and more supportive of companies scaling up in global markets – while always ensuring a level playing field. This should be reflected in the way we assess mergers so that innovation and resilience are fully taken into account. We will ensure competition policy keeps pace with evolving global markets and prevents market concentration from raising prices or lowering the quality of goods or services for consumers. We will look at all of our policies through a security lens.”

  • This statement reaffirms the classic principles underlying competition law, i.e., the focus on ensuring a level playing field, preventing market concentration, and ultimately avoiding a negative impact on prices/quality of goods or services.
  • However, the President’s comments recognize the impact of global dynamics and the need for EU companies to be able to respond to global pressures. In the context of Siemens/Alstom and Lufthansa/ITA, there is growing pressure from EU Member States to allow European champions and this program could signal an openness to that effect.
  • The President also calls for an increased focus on innovation and resilience in the substantive assessment of mergers. This could mean (i) that the Commission will expand its assessment of the impact of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards and security, (ii) that the Commission would be open to a greater role of wider efficiency justifications/public interest considerations in merger control and competition law assessments, and/or (iii) that the impact on the overall economic competitiveness of the EU, and the aim of geopolitical de-risking for critical supply chains and technologies, may play an increasingly important role in the assessment of mergers.

Continue Reading The 2024-2029 Commission Political Guidelines: Where Is Competition Policy Likely Headed?

With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the regulatory frameworks for AI in the Asia–Pacific (APAC) region continue to develop quickly. Policymakers and regulators have been prompted to consider either reviewing existing regulatory frameworks to ensure their effectiveness in addressing emerging risks brought by AI, or proposing new, AI-specific rules or regulations. Overall, there appears to be a trend across the region to promote AI uses and developments, with most jurisdictions focusing on high-level and principle-based guidance. While a few jurisdictions are considering regulations specific to AI, they are still at an early stage. Further, privacy regulators and some industry regulators, such as financial regulators, are starting to play a role in AI governance.

This blog post provides an overview of various approaches in regulating AI and managing AI-related risks in the APAC region.  

  • AI-Specific Laws and Regulations

Several jurisdictions in the region are moving toward AI-specific regulations, including the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as China), South Korea, and Taiwan.

  • China has been most active in shaping regulations specific to generative AI technologies since 2023. It has taken a multifaceted approach that combines AI-specific regulations, national standards and technical guidance to govern generative AI services and the regulatory focus has been on services that are provided to the public in China. The Interim Administrative Measures for Generative Artificial Intelligence Services represent a milestone as the first comprehensive regulation specifically addressing generative AI services (a summary of this regulation can be found in our previous post here). Several non-binding technical documents and national standards have been issued or are being drafted to further implement this regulation. Prior to the regulation that specifically addresses generative AI services, China had issued regulations for deep synthesis and algorithmic recommendations. Further, China promulgated rules on conducting an ethical review of scientific activities involving generative AI.
  • Beyond a few provisions on narrow aspects scattered in other regimes, South Korea does not presently have a comprehensive AI-specific regulatory framework. Proposed in early 2023, the draft Act on Fostering the AI Industry and Securing Trustworthy AI remains currently pending before the National Assembly. If enacted, it would set out the first comprehensive legislative framework governing the usage of AI in South Korea, generally reflecting an approach that would permit AI usage and developments subject to subsequent safeguards if and as needed. In parallel, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) has been advocating for a flexible approach to AI based on self-regulation, with support from the PIPC. Furthermore, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) will soon start a detailed study to identify potential AI-induced risks in terms of consumer protection as well as unfair or anti-competitive practices, which might result in KFTC-supervised self-regulation of certain AI aspects through industry codes of conduct supplemented by a set of guidelines on AI, or even proposed legislation or amendments to existing consumer protection or antitrust rules. 
  • Similarly, Taiwan is drafting a basic law governing AI, i.e., the Basic Law for Development of Artificial Intelligence, which will set out fundamental principles for AI development and for the government to promote the development of AI technologies. However, it is still uncertain whether and when Taiwan will pass this draft law.
  • Non-binding AI Principles and Guidelines

Continue Reading Overview of AI Regulatory Landscape in APAC

On 24 January 2024, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published its European Economic Security Package (the “EESP”), which included the long-awaited proposal to reform the EU Regulation which established a framework for Foreign Direct Investment screening (the “EU FDI Regulation”). The EESP’s proposed regulation (the “Proposed Regulation”) is one of the EESP’s five initiatives to implement the European Security Strategy (published in June 2023) – for an overview of the EESP, see our Global Policy Watch blog.

The Proposed Regulation seeks to improve the legal framework for foreign investment screening in the European Union and builds upon feedback that the Commission received during its public consultation in 2023. If adopted as proposed, it will significantly change the landscape of foreign investment screening regimes across the EU (for a full report of the public consultation see here).

This blog highlights the key changes under the proposed reform and analyses their impact on global deal making. We also provide an outlook on the next steps for the proposals.

Key takeaways and comment

  • Extended scope to include indirect foreign investments through EU subsidiaries and greenfield investments.
  • Minimum standards and greater harmonisation across the EU.
  • Introduction of call-in powers to review all transactions for at least 15 months after completion.
  • Coordinated submission of foreign investment filings in multi-country transactions.
  • Focus cooperation between Member States and the Commission on cases more likely to be sensitive.
  • More prescriptive guidance on substantive assessments and remedies, including a formal obligation for national screening authorities to prohibit or impose conditions on transactions they conclude are likely to negatively affect security or public order in one or more Member States.
  • Increased reporting, while protecting confidential information.

Continue Reading Draft EU Screening Regulation – a new chapter for screening foreign direct investments in the EU

The English High Court (“High Court”) has issued an important judgment in the claim that Gemalto group companies (“Gemalto”) brought against Infineon (“Infineon”) and Renesas Electronics (“Renesas”) companies, for damages arising from the smart card chips cartel (Gemalto NV and others v Infineon Technologies AG [2022] EWHC 156 (Ch), the “Judgment”).  The claim arises