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CMA consults on new internal market role

The CMA is inviting views on its proposals for how the newly created Office for the Internal Market (OIM) is expected to work.

The UK Internal Market Act establishes the independent OIM within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The OIM’s mandate is to support the effective operation of the UK internal market using economic and technical expertise. Through a set of advisory, monitoring and reporting functions, it will assist the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government to manage the potential evolution of different regulatory approaches in a way which protects the effective operation of the internal market.

The OIM will produce annual and 5-yearly monitoring reports on the effective operation of the internal market, which it will lay before all 4 legislatures in the UK.

As part of this, the OIM will report on a range of areas, including:

  • Barriers to trade and investment between parts of the UK.

  • Differences in regulation which could – despite the statutory Market Access Principles – lead to producers paying more to meet the product standards in another part of the UK, if they wish to sell there, or consumers facing higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice.
  • Changes to how the internal market is working over time, including the impact of Common Frameworks, which are designed to ensure a coherent approach to regulation in certain policy areas.

The OIM will be able to conduct reviews of areas which are relevant to the effective operation of the internal market. All governments will also be able to request advice or a report from the OIM on the impact of a specific regulation on the UK internal market, or expected impact if the regulation is yet to come into effect.

Additionally, the OIM will develop an online tool to gather information from suppliers, producers and consumers on matters relating to the internal market.

The draft guidance provides an opportunity for interested stakeholders to comment on the analysis that the OIM expects to undertake and the procedures that the OIM will adopt. This includes how it expects to receive and manage requests for advice from national authorities and how it will prioritise work.

The OIM’s work will assist governments in understanding how effectively companies are able to sell their products and services across the 4 nations of the UK, and the impact of regulation on this, including the impact on competition and consumer choice.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “The Office for the Internal Market will be a resource for all four Governments across the UK. We are determined that it will be even-handed in its approach and rigorous in its technical analysis.”

Rachel Merelie was recently announced as the Senior Director for the OIM and is joined by team members based in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

The consultation on the draft guidance will run until 23 July 2021. More information can be found on the consultation page.

Notes to Editors

  • The Market Access Principles aim to limit trade costs of differences in regulation, for both goods and services, by facilitating market access.


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