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Following the UK departure from the EU, the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (VABER) was retained into UK law. This extended the existing exemptions to the general prohibition of agreements which prevent, restrict or distort competition under The Competition Act 1998.
The retained VABER expires on 31 May 2022. After a process of consultation and stakeholder engagement, the CMA has recommended to the Secretary of State that the new provisions should preserve the existing exemption for vertical agreements and has identified some important amendments. These changes are aimed at capturing the differences in the UK internal market and the shift of attitudes of consumers in their use of online sales.
The CMA has proposed the Competition Act 1998 (Vertical Agreement Block Exemption) Order 2022 (VABEO) (the Order). The Order, proposed as a statutory instrument, would remain applicable in the entirety of the United Kingdom and would come into force on 31 May 2022.
The proposed Statutory Instrument is open for further consultation until the 16 March 2022. Further information on how to contribute and the proposed full legal text can be found here.