The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is working with its counterparts around the world to ensure companies do not collude to drive up prices in the supply chain.

It has become part of a new working group that will meet regularly to develop and share intelligence to detect and investigate suspected anti-competitive behaviour and collusion, using existing international cooperation tools.

The group’s members have put suppliers and shipping companies “on notice” that those trying to use supply chain disruptions as a cover for “illegal anticompetitive conduct” will face the full force of the law.

In the UK that could lead to fines of up to 10% of global turnover, disqualification of directors and in some cases criminal prosecution.

The launch of the working group follows concerns about higher prices resulting from supply chain disruption across the economy, including supplies of apparel to garment decorators in the UK.

Although many businesses and individuals have worked hard to minimise the impact of these disruptions, the agencies are concerned that some unscrupulous businesses could take advantage of the disruptions to engage in anti-competitive collusion and practices that cheat other businesses and ultimately consumers.

The CMA is working with competition authorities from the other nations in the established “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance: the United States Department of Justice, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Canadian Competition Bureau and the New Zealand Commerce Commission.

Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “People and businesses across the world have been facing higher prices for goods and for transporting them.

“While price rises can be legitimate, the CMA would be concerned if collusive anti-competitive practices are contributing to these rises or preventing prices from coming down.

“The CMA is ready to use its legal powers where it finds evidence that the issues in the supply chain might be caused by potential breaches of competition law.

“These are global issues that are best addressed together. With support and intelligence from partner agencies across the world, we can step in and take enforcement action if we find evidence of anti-competitive behaviour taking place.”

Anyone who has information about a cartel is encouraged to call the CMA cartels hotline on 020 3738 6888 or send an email to or use the online reporting form.