Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1968

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1968 c. 66


Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1968

1968 CHAPTER 66

An Act to amend Part I of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956 and to make further provision as to agreements conflicting with Free Trade agreements.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Exemption from registration of certain agreements of importance to the national economy.

1 Exemption from registration of certain agreements of importance to the national economy.

(1) If it appears to the Board of Trade, on consideration of an agreement proposed to be made by any parties, that the conditions set out in subsection (2) of this section are complied with in respect of the proposed agreement, they may, by order made on or before the conclusion of the agreement, approve the agreement for the purposes of this section; and any agreement so approved shall be exempt from registration under Part I of the Act of 1956 during the continuance in force of the order.

(2) The conditions for the making of an order under subsection (1) of this section in respect of an agreement (in this section referred to as the conditions of exemption) are—

(a ) that the agreement is calculated to promote the carrying out of an industrial or commercial project or scheme of substantial importance to the national economy;

(b ) that its object or main object is to promote efficiency in a trade or industry or to create or improve productive capacity in an industry;

(c ) that that object cannot be achieved or achieved within a reasonable time except by means of the agreement or of an agreement for similar purposes;

(d ) that no relevant restrictions are accepted under the agreement other than such as are reasonably necessary to achieve that object; and

(e ) that the agreement is on balance expedient in the national interest;

and in considering the national interest for the purposes of paragraph (e ) of this subsection the Board shall take into account any effects which an agreement is likely to have on persons not parties thereto as purchasers, consumers or users of any relevant goods.

(3) An order under this section shall continue in force for such period as may be specified therein, which may be extended by subsequent order of the Board: but the period so specified or extended shall not exceed the period which appears to the Board sufficient for the purposes for which the order was made.

(4) An order under this section approving an agreement may be revoked by order of the Board at any time after the expiration of one year from the day on which the first-mentioned order was made if it appears to them—

(a ) that the object or main object of the agreement has not been or is not likely to be achieved, or that any other condition of exemption is no longer satisfied in respect of the agreement; or

(b ) that the agreement is used for purposes other than those for which it was approved,

and may be so revoked at any time if the Board become aware of circumstances by reason of which, if known to them at the material time, the agreement would not have been approved; but no order revoking an order under this section approving an agreement shall be made by the Board by virtue of paragraph (a ) or (b ) of this subsection unless the Board have given to each of the parties at least twenty-eight days' notice of their intention to revoke the order.

(5) The Board shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of any order made under this section and of the agreement to which the order relates, and make available for public inspection a copy of any such agreement:

Provided that this subsection shall not apply to an agreement which varies an agreement previously approved under this section, or an order approving such an agreement, if in the opinion of the Board the variation does not substantially affect the operation of restrictions accepted under the agreement previously approved.

S-2 Exemption from registration of agreements holding down prices.

2 Exemption from registration of agreements holding down prices.

(1) A competent authority may by order approve for the purposes of this section any agreement made at the request of the competent authority, or any term included at their request in any agreement, being an agreement or term which relates exclusively to the prices to be charged in connection with transactions of any description and is designed either to prevent or restrict increases or to secure reductions in those prices.

(2) Where an agreement is approved by order under this section, the agreement shall be exempt from registration under Part I of the Act of 1956 during the continuance in force of the order; and where a term of an agreement is so approved, that term, and any restrictions accepted thereunder, shall during the continuance in force of the order be disregarded for all purposes in determining whether the said Part I applies to the agreement.

(3) An order under this section shall continue in force for such period as may be specified therein, which may be extended by subsequent order of the competent authority: but the period so specified shall not exceed two years, and shall not be extended by more than two years at a time.

(4) An order under this section may at any time be revoked by order of the competent authority if it appears to that authority that the relevant agreement or term is used for purposes other than those for which it was approved.

(5) A competent authority shall make available for public inspection a copy of any agreement or term of an agreement approved by order under this section.

(6) This section applies to agreements made before as well as after the commencement of this Act.

(7) The competent authorities for the purposes of this section are the Board of Trade, the Secretary of State, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Power, the Minister of Public Building and Works and the Minister of Technology.

S-3 Supplementary provisions as to exempted agreements.

3 Supplementary provisions as to exempted agreements.

(1) Sections 1 and 2 of this Act shall apply, with the necessary modifications, in relation to any recommendation made by or on behalf of a trade association as they apply in relation to an agreement; and where any such recommendation is approved by order under either of those sections, subsection (7) of section 6 of the Act of 1956 (application of Part I to agreements for the constitution of associations in consequence of recommendations) shall not apply in relation to the recommendation during the continuance in force of the order.

(2) In the case of an order under section 1 of this Act approving a recommendation made by or on behalf of a trade association, the requirement of subsection (4) of that section as to the giving of notice of intention to revoke the order shall be treated as a requirement to give such notice as is there mentioned to the association; and any notice under that subsection which is required to be given to a trade association or to each of the members of a trade association shall be treated as duly so given if it is given either to the association or to the secretary, manager or other similar officer of the association.

(3) An order under section 1 or section 2 of this Act made before the conclusion of the agreement or issue of the recommendation to which it relates may be made subject to conditions as to the time within which the agreement is to be concluded or the recommendation issued, and as to the furnishing of copies of the agreement or recommendation to the Board of Trade or other competent authority.

(4) There may be omitted from the copies of any agreement, term of an agreement or recommendation to be laid before Parliament under section 1 of this Act, and to be made available for public inspection under that section or under section 2 of this Act, any such particulars as would, in the opinion of the Board of Trade or other competent authority, fall to be entered in the special section of the register referred to in subsection (3) of section 11 of the Act of 1956 if the relevant agreement were subject to registration under Part I of that Act.

(5) If any agreement, term of an agreement or recommendation approved by order under section 1 or section 2 of this Act is subsequently varied, the order shall cease to have effect unless the variation is also approved by order under the said section 1 or the said section 2, as the case may be; and a variation may be so approved if (and only if) the agreement, term or recommendation could be so approved as varied.

(6) The approval by order under section 1 or section 2 of this Act of an agreement or recommendation made by or on behalf of a trade association shall not be affected by any change in the persons who are members of the association or are represented on the association by such members, but without prejudice to the power of the Board of Trade or other competent authority to revoke the order under the said section 1 or section 2.

(7) No order made by the Court in proceedings under Part I of the Act of 1956 for restraining any person from making an agreement or recommendation, and no corresponding undertaking given to the Court in such proceedings, shall be construed as extending to an agreement or recommendation which is exempt from registration by virtue of an order under section 1 or section 2 of this Act.

S-4 Agreements to comply with standards of dimension, design or quality, etc.

4 Agreements to comply with standards of dimension, design or quality, etc.

(1) The following shall be substituted for subsection (3) of section 7 of the Act of 1956:—

(3) In determining whether an agreement is an agreement to which this Part of this Act applies, no account shall be taken of...

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