Australian court dismisses SIA Cargo appeal

AUSTRALIA’S Federal Court has dismissed Singapore Airlines (SIA) Cargo’s appeal against its alleged price-fixing charges.

SIA Cargo claimed that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had no right to fine it for alleged activities that occurred outside Australia. However, the court said “prices fixed for legs of a journey which take place wholly outside Australia may ultimately affect competition in a market in Australia”.

ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, welcomed the decision: “This is a crucial decision for the ACCC. It confirms that the Act is able to reach cartels formed outside Australia affecting Australians. The Full Federal Court has also confirmed that the ACCC is fully able to investigate conduct occurring overseas. Here we are investigating a worldwide market for air cargo services. That market includes not only routes inbound to Australia and outbound from Australia but may well also include routes between two overseas destinations.”

A spokesperson for SIA Cargo said: “SIA Cargo respects the ACCC’s investigative process and has co-operated with the ACCC in its investigations, but wishes to ensure that the process is fair. These proceedings were brought to clarify important questions about the territorial reach of the Trade Practices Act.”

He added that the airline will continue to cooperate with Australia “to the extent it is able and it is within the jurisdiction of the authorities”.

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