Frequently Asked Questions

Block Exemptions

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1. What is a block exemption?

A block exemption is the exemption of a category of agreements from the section 34 prohibition. CCCS may make a recommendation to the Minister for Trade and Industry on the agreements that qualify for a block exemption and the Minister may issue an order to bring the block exemption into effect.

2. What criteria must a category of agreements meet in order to qualify for block exemption?

Agreements should meet the criteria stipulated in section 41 of the Competition Act, namely:

  • The improvement of production or distribution; or 
  • The promotion of technical or economic progress,

while not:

  • Imposing on the undertakings concerned restrictions not indispensable to the attainment of those objectives; or 
  • Affording the undertakings concerned the possibility of eliminating competition in a substantial part of the goods or services in question.

3. I think my agreement should qualify for a block exemption. How do I request for a block exemption?

There is no application process for businesses seeking a block exemption. The Minister will decide whether to issue a ministerial order to exempt a category of agreements from the section 34 prohibition based on CCCS's recommendation. 

CCCS will take into consideration the criteria listed in section 41 of the Act when it makes its recommendation. Before making its final recommendation, CCCS will publish details of its proposed recommendation for public consultation and consider any representations from interested parties regarding its proposed recommendation.

4. What can I do if my agreement does not qualify for block exemption?

If your agreement meets the criteria for net economic benefit in paragraph 9 of the Third Schedule, it will be excluded from the section 34 prohibition by virtue of section 35 of the Act. Undertakings can undertake their own assessment and make a case for net economic benefit.

5. Are there block exemptions for the section 47 prohibition?

The block exemption applies only to the section 34 prohibition. There are no block exemptions for the section 47 prohibition.