Public consultation allows shipping companies and their customers and suppliers to provide the Commission with advice on the text of the proposed category exemption regulation. The Commission`s very detailed explanatory statement, which supports its proposal, should help these stakeholders to develop their positions. It also warns parties in other economic sectors that any request for similar contracts will likely lead to long and thorough cooperation with the Commission, which would involve an intensive public consultation process. Based on the results of the public consultation, it seems unlikely that an order will be adopted for line shipping until the first quarter of 2017. Global analysis of economic efficiency. Where agreements and practices result in or result in the effect or effect of a restriction of competition, a violation of the first rule of conduct can nevertheless be avoided if efficiency gains outweigh competition restrictions. Most of the analysis of the interim opinion is devoted to the conditions for general exclusion from economic efficiency, the main objective being the proposed category exemption regulation. The exemption for VSA would be valid for a period of one year, which means that shipping companies will not be required to obtain authorization from the ICC during that period. The maritime industry has requested a waiver from these pacts by the ICC, which monitors unfair trade practices in the market. The Commission considers provisionally that vessel-sharing agreements are potentially competitively restrictive, but that they provide sufficient benefits to justify their exclusion from the prohibition of restrictive agreements under the first rule of conduct where certain conditions are met. However, on the basis of the information received so far, the Commission cannot find sufficient benefits from voluntary discussion agreements that would justify its exclusion, in particular because of the very significant restrictions that can result from price discussions between competitors. Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) and Voluntary Discussions Agreement (VDA) are common practices in the shipping industry. A voluntary cardiac care service shows how Janaushadhi Kendras can go far beyond selling low-cost drugs.
Restricting competition. The statement only briefly discusses whether the relevant agreements would result in a restriction of competition, which would be covered by the first rule of conduct. However, this brief discussion provides some useful lessons, particularly with regard to ship-sharing agreements. Since it is difficult to convince the Commission that discussions on prices and trading conditions between independent economic operators would not be contrary to the competition regulation, the parties have little alternative to cease participating in such discussions, at least to the extent that they have the purpose or effect of restricting competition in Hong Kong markets. Other issues of general interest. Other issues that may be important beyond the marine sector are the following. Voluntary discussion agreements. As noted above, the Commission is not yet convinced that this type of agreement should be exempted by category.