The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is pushing for tougher powers to scrutinise tech giants like Amazon and Google after Brexit.
The CMA is calling for powers to fine companies engaging in behaviour considered harmful to consumers without having to go through courts as it is currently required to do under EU law.
It also wants the ability to prevent companies engaging in anti-competitive conduct while it is investigating them.
“The upside (of leaving the EU) is that you take back control — genuinely — of the decisions,” the CMA’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli told the Financial Times.
After Brexit the CMA will be responsible for regulating larger and more complex merger, cartel and competition cases which are currently handled by the European Commission.
Coscelli added that the UK was “in a very strong position to lead” global competition strategy after Brexit, pointing to Canada, Australia and Brazil as benchmarks.
“These are well-resourced, highly competent competition authorities in sizeable markets”, she added.
“They work quite significantly in parallel with the US agencies and the European Commission and others.”
Part of its new hard-line strategy will focus on large tech companies like Amazon buy up smaller rivals.
As a key example the CMA has put Amazon’s purchase of a minor stake in Deliveroo on hold while it launched a stage two investigation into the implications on competition.
“The argument that companies were making seven or eight years ago was that it was very difficult to predict how it was going to play out,” she added:
“We now realise that there are strong barriers to entry and expansion. When we look at the current deals we have a higher degree of scepticism.”