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Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel rarely gets good press, but the criticism of his Competition Amendment Bill has been particularly scathing. In a nutshell, critics warn that the bill in its current form will give the minister significant powers, effectively allowing him to intervene on cross-border transactions, appeal against decisions by the Competition Tribunal, call for or halt market inquiries, and issue exemptions for the Competition Act to be applied to certain agreements or practices. The power to intervene on cross-border transactions, in the interest of national security, has been particularly contentious, and lawyers warn that it will create even more uncertainty for already reluctant foreign investors. In its current form, the proposal is that the president should set up a committee that will consider whether transactions might raise national security concerns. The problem is twofold: in its current form, the bill is vague about what would constitute a threat ...

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