ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has called upon Fortescue's Andrew Forrest to explain his calls for the world’s biggest iron ore producers to work together to put a cap on iron ore production.

“The ACCC will be looking closely at Mr Forrest’s comments and the context in which they were made. In general terms, any attempt by Australian businesses to encourage competitors to restrict outputs is a matter of grave concern to the ACCC,” Mr Sims said.

“Ultimately, any success in increasing the price of iron ore in an anti-competitive way would be expected to lead to an increase in prices that Australian consumers pay for items such as whitegoods and cars.”

Cartel conduct, anti-competitive agreements, price fixing and attempts to bring about collusive arrangements are very serious matters that the ACCC vigilantly detects, disrupts and deters. These arrangements do not need to be put into effect to be in breach of the law. Under the Competition and Consumer Act (2010) there are civil and criminal penalties for both cartel conduct and attempts to engage in cartel conduct.

The ACCC understands Mr Forrest’s comments were made at an AustCham event in Shanghai on Tuesday 24 March 2015.