Articles

Minister of Economic Affairs published a draft policy rule on competition and sustainability for consultation

Minister of Economic Affairs published a draft policy rule on competition and sustainability for consultation

Minister of Economic Affairs published a draft policy rule on competition and sustainability for consultation

05.01.2016 NL law

On 23 December 2015, the Minister of Economic Affairs published a Draft Policy Rule on competition and sustainability ("Draft Policy Rule") for consultation. The Draft Policy Rule aims to replace the previous policy rule on competition and sustainability adopted in 2014. 

The Draft Policy Rule provides guidelines on the assessment of whether agreements relating to sustainability are exempted from the cartel prohibition.

The 2014 policy rule faced considerable criticism, as it was found by many to hamper sustainability initiatives. Examples of sustainability initiatives that were found to be in violation of competition rules by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ("ACM") are the agreement between energy producers to close down coal-fired plants and the arrangements between supermarkets, poultry farmers, and broiler meat processors concerning the selling of chicken meat produced under enhanced animal welfare-friendly conditions [see our February 2015 newsletter].

Like the previous policy rule, the Draft Policy Rule contains the factors to be taken into account when assessing whether agreements in the interest of sustainability are exempted from the cartel prohibition. However, the Draft Policy Rule contains some new elements so as to provide a clearer and more concrete framework.

The Draft Policy Rule now determines that restrictive agreements comprising a set of arrangements should be examined as a whole, when assessing the efficiencies of the restrictive agreement.

Also new is the specification that both qualitative and quantitative benefits are to be taken into account in the assessment of the benefit resulting from the restrictive agreement. The 2014 policy rule did not specify whether qualitative or quantitative benefits were concerned, which led the ACM to conclude that benefits must be quantifiable. Furthermore, the Draft Policy Rule exempts, where possible, restrictive agreements that benefit society as a whole, as opposed to agreements not related to sustainability, which should benefit specific groups of consumers in order to be exempted.

The consultation phase ends on 31 January 2016.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of January 2016. Other articles in this newsletter:

Team

Related news

09.01.2020 NL law
Deleting WhatsApp chats during dawn raids may cost you dearly

Short Reads - Companies should be aware that the Dutch competition authority (ACM) will not only examine electronic records and emails, but can also check WhatsApp messages during dawn raids. The ACM recently imposed a fine of EUR 1.84 million on a company for non-cooperation with a dawn raid; its highest fine so far for non-cooperation. Several of the company’s employees had left WhatsApp groups and deleted chats before handing over their mobile phones for inspection.

Read more

16.01.2020 NL law
De Amsterdamse milieuzone voor brom- en snorfietsen: voertuigen van een bepaald jaar weren is mogelijk bij ontbreken van een redelijk alternatief

Short Reads - ABRvS 20 november 2019, ECLI:NL:RVS:2019:3865 Deze blog is het vierde deel in een reeks Stibbeblogs over gemeentelijke milieuzones. In 2017 oordeelde de Afdeling over de milieuzone voor personen- en bestelauto’s met dieselmotoren in Utrecht. In 2018 presenteerde de staatssecretaris van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat haar beleid voor harmonisatie van uiteenlopende gemeentelijke milieuzones. Een jaar geleden maakten wij in een FAQ de balans op over de harmonisatie van milieuzones.

Read more

09.01.2020 NL law
Access to the file in Dutch competition procedures: too little too late?

Short Reads - Companies beware: the ACM’s and European Commission’s approach to access to the file are not aligned. According to an interim relief judge, the ACM cannot be forced to grant a company access to a broader set of documents in competition procedures. A potential error in the administrative procedure can be remedied before a court at a later stage. This is different to the right to access to the Commission’s file during administrative procedures, as acknowledged in EU case law.

Read more

10.01.2020 NL law
Is het mededingingsrecht de reddingsboei van zwakke zzp’ers?

Articles - Het toenemende aantal zzp'ers heeft ook mededingingsrechtelijke gevolgen. Volgens de ACM werkt de markt namelijk niet goed als zzp'ers door lage uurtarieven onder het bestaansminimum komen. Jan Truijens Martinez en Simone Evans bespreken in het Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsrecht in Context hoe eventuele belemmeringen die het mededingingsrecht opwerpt bij de bescherming van zzp'ers kunnen worden beperkt en of het mededingingsrecht eigenlijk wel het juiste instrument daarvoor is? 

Read more

09.01.2020 NL law
Competition rules and globalisation to face off in 2020

Short Reads - 2020 will likely revolve around the question whether competition rules should yield to globalisation and digitisation, with suggestions ranging from mere tweaks to competition rules to complementary regulation. Greater cooperation across data protection, consumer protection and competition law appears inevitable. Speedier solutions in more informal settings may become a reality, alongside more frequent use of behavioural remedies.

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