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Anti-Competitive Practices

Also known as cartels (global) and anti-trust (USA), anti-competitive practices are where businesses collude to fix prices or other terms and conditions. Some agreements are legal but usually require prior authority from the appropriate regulator.

Norwegian-based, global, shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO) has pleaded guilty in the Australian Federal Court to criminal cartel conduct in a prosecution brought by the Australia on evidence obtained by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The European Union is risking a battle with US President Trump. Countries, individually and federally, have been looking at the effect on domestic industries and national revenues of US companies, their tax structures and their business practices. In short, they are saying exactly what the US says: if you want to do business here, you do it on our terms. The USA doesn't like this challenge to the commercial colonialism which it has practised, largely without official resistance, since the 1940s.

Australia is big. Seriously big. It is also empty. Seriously empty. With an estimated 90% of its population clustered into a handful of coastal cities (and some of those being small compared to Sydney and Melbourne), the cost of doing business can be disproportionately high in provincial and rural areas. One might think that would favour the internet and, for non-perishable, non-urgent things that's probably true although, as in many countries, the cost of delivery dramatically ramps up the cost of products in sparsely populated areas. What happens when towns become too small to support reasonable returns for businesses? Logic says "close up or combine." Australian regulators question that policy.

In Australia, 14 airlines have been found to have colluded to fix prices for freight. The latest to be brought to book is Garuda Indonesia and the penalties are substantial.