Articles

News Alert - ACM enforcement policy

News Alert - ACM enforcement policy

News Alert - ACM enforcement policy

22.04.2015 NL law

ACM publishes enforcement policy and priorities in the area of vertical agreements

On 20 April the Dutch competition authority (ACM) published a long-awaited document setting out its strategy and priorities concerning vertical agreements. The ACM will give priority to agreements which can be harmful to consumers and it will focus on cases in which it can intervene effectively, for instance by clarifying a legal norm. The enforcement priorities of the ACM are therefore in line with the EU Commission Guidelines on Vertical Restraints and EU competition law and practice more generally. The ACM policy document does not contain guidance on what is and what is not allowed in the interaction between suppliers and retailers in, for instance, the fast-moving consumer goods area. The implication is that the ACM does not consider this a priority area, other than for example the German competition authority.

The ACM first sets out the existing legal framework applicable to vertical agreements and summarizes the very limited ACM enforcement practice in this field. So far, the ACM has left the application of the competition rules to vertical agreements mainly to private parties and thus civil law courts. Recent market developments and the response of other national competition authorities ("NCAs") have prompted the ACM to provide insight on its enforcement policy in relation to vertical agreements.

In deciding whether or not to take enforcement action, the ACM will normally first examine the degree of market power of the parties involved in the vertical agreement within the specific distribution chain and the existence of similar parallel vertical agreements in the market. The ACM says it will also examine whether retailers forced the supplier to enter into the vertical agreement at issue (although the ACM does not explain what the relevant test is to establish such coercion). The ACM also pledges to consider possible efficiency gains. In five practical scenarios the ACM illustrates how it will consider these factors in a specific case.

With the policy document, the ACM underscores it is actively monitoring developments in the enforcement of the competition rules in relation to vertical restraints by both the Commission and NCAs. Yet, the ACM reconfirms its view that in the absence of market power vertical agreements are more often than not beneficial for consumers. The ACM document is a useful reconfirmation of the relatively lenient ACM approach to vertical restraints. At the same time, it can serve as a roadmap for complainants who are calling on the ACM to take action in the area of vertical restraints.

Team

Related news

09.12.2019 BE law
Stibbe expands EU/competition practice with new partner Sophie Van Besien

Inside Stibbe - Brussels, 9 December 2019 – Stibbe welcomes EU law, competition, and regulated markets lawyer Sophie Van Besien as a new partner in its Brussels office. Her expertise will enhance Stibbe’s service offering in the Benelux and contribute to the further development of its EU/competition and regulated markets practice. Sophie joins Stibbe on 9 December 2019.

Read more

05.12.2019 NL law
Big tech firms entering banking: be careful what you wish for

Short Reads - Big tech firms, whether entering or already active on payments markets, are under scrutiny. PSD2 has opened up the payments markets to non-bank companies, but this comes with both risks and opportunities. EU regulators are examining anticompetitive risks, for example the possibility of leveraging a strong position in one market into another market. Competition, innovation, privacy and security for financial transactions will all be hot topics as scrutiny increases on providers of payment services.

Read more

09.12.2019 BE law
Stibbe versterkt EU/competition praktijk met nieuwe vennote Sophie Van Besien

Inside Stibbe - Brussel, 9 december 2019 – Stibbe verwelkomt Sophie Van Besien, gespecialiseerd in Europees recht, mededingingsrecht en gereguleerde markten, als nieuwe vennote in het Brusselse kantoor. Sophie’s expertise zal Stibbe’s dienstverlening in de Benelux versterken en bijdragen aan de verdere ontwikkeling van zijn EU/competition en regulated markets praktijk. Sophie vervoegt Stibbe op 9 december 2019.

Read more

09.12.2019 BE law
Stibbe renforce sa pratique de droit européen et de la concurrence par la venue de Sophie Van Besien en qualité d’associée

Inside Stibbe - Bruxelles, le 9 décembre 2019 –  Stibbe a le plaisir d’accueillir Sophie Van Besien, avocate spécialisée en droit européen, droit de la concurrence et des marchés réglementés, en qualité de nouvelle associée au sein de son cabinet bruxellois. Son expertise permettra d’enrichir les prestations actuelles du cabinet au Benelux et de contribuer au développement de son activité en droit européen et en droit de la concurrence ainsi que des marchés réglementés. Sophie Van Besien rejoint Stibbe ce 9 décembre 2019.

Read more

05.12.2019 NL law
Walking a thin line: cooperation and collusion

Short Reads - Buying groups are under attack from competition authorities across Europe. Joint buying arrangements are aimed at strengthening participating companies' bargaining power towards their trading partners, usually resulting in lower prices or better quality for consumers. However, these buying arrangements must stay on the right side of the line between legitimate cooperation and anticompetitive collusion. Competition concerns may arise if the participating companies have a significant degree of market power or coordinate their conduct.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring