Government-mandated sharing of trade secrets: anticompetitive interference

This post from analyses a case that highlights the need for advocacy programs that educate public officials. In this particular instance, the S.A. Minister of Small Business requested companies to engage in conduct that violates the country’s competition law. Although the purpose of this request is to promote other public policy goals, it leaves both the South African Competition Commission (SACC) and the multinational companies in an awkward situation. How should the SACC act in the event of a government-lead antitrust violation? The post, that we highly recommend, provides arguments to find an answer to this question.

African Antitrust & Competition Law


Ms. Zulu proposes foreign competitors share trade secrets with SA counterparts

Perhaps it is time for increased advocacy initiatives within the South African government, or at a minimum a basic educational program in competition law for all its sitting ministers.
In what can only be described as startling (and likely positively anticompetitive), Lindiwe Zulu, the S.A. Minister of Small Business, has demanded foreign business owners to reveal their trade secrets to their smaller rivals.
The South African Competition Commission, and perhaps one of the Minister’s own fellow Cabinet members, minister Ebrahim Patel, who is de facto in charge of the competition authorities, can see fit to remind Ms. Zulu that fundamental antitrust law principles (and in particular section 4 of the South African Competition Act), preclude firms in a horizontal relationship from sharing trade secrets that are competitively sensitive – i.e., precisely those types of information…

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