REPORT on competition policy – annual report 2022
8.5.2023 - ( 2022/2060(INI) )
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Rapporteur: René Repasi
- 001-007 (PDF - 118 KB)
- 001-007 (DOC - 83 KB)
- 008-008 (PDF - 92 KB)
- 008-008 (DOC - 69 KB)
- 009-011 (PDF - 109 KB)
- 009-011 (DOC - 42 KB)
- 012-012 (PDF - 94 KB)
- 012-012 (DOC - 70 KB)
- 013-016 (PDF - 109 KB)
- 013-016 (DOC - 40 KB)
- 017-017/REV1 (PDF - 101 KB)
- 017-017/REV1 (DOC - 39 KB)
- 018-018 (PDF - 102 KB)
- 018-018 (DOC - 71 KB)
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
- OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
Final vote by roll call in committee responsible.
on competition policy – annual report 2022
( 2022/2060(INI) )
The European Parliament ,
– having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular to Articles 101 to 109 thereof,
– having regard to the relevant Commission rules, guidelines, resolutions, public consultations, communications and papers on the subject of competition,
– having regard to the Commission report of 14 July 2022 entitled ‘Report on Competition Policy 2021’ ( COM(2022)0337 ) and to the accompanying Commission staff working document (SWD(2022)0188),
– having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2022 on competition policy – annual report 2021  ,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 entitled ‘The European Green Deal’ ( COM(2019)0640 ),
– having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality  , which sets the target of economy-wide climate neutrality by 2050 and establishes a binding EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitment of at least 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 6 December 2021 on revised Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments  ,
– having regard to the Flash Eurobarometer 510 report of October 2022 entitled ‘SMEs’ expectations for an effective competition policy’,
– having regard to the Flash Eurobarometer 511 report of October 2022 entitled ‘Citizens’ perceptions about competition policy’,
– having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case T-791/19  ,
– having regard to the judgment of the CJEU in Case T-227/21  ,
– having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy following the aggression against Ukraine by Russia’  ,
– having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (the EC Merger Regulation)  ,
– having regard to Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2022 on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector and amending Directives (EU) 2019/1937 and (EU) 2020/1828 (Digital Markets Act)  ,
– having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market  ,
– having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty  ,
– having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 of 7 April 2004 relating to the conduct of proceedings by the Commission pursuant to Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty  ,
– having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007  ,
– having regard to the Commission Guidelines of 29 September 2022 on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements,
– having regard to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), ‘Report on CRA Market Share Calculation’ of 15 December 2022,
– having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy 2022’  ,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 12 December 2022 entitled ‘Guidelines on State aid for broadband networks’  ,
– having regard to the draft Commission notice on the definition of the relevant market for the purposes of Union competition law,
– having regard to the draft Commission guidelines on the application of the exclusion from Article 101 TFEU for sustainability agreements of agricultural producers pursuant to Article 210a of Regulation 1308/2013,
– having regard to the Commission staff working document of 1 December 2022 entitled ‘Evaluation of the State subsidy rules for health and social services of general economic interest (‘SGEIs’) and of the SGEI de minimis Regulation’ (SWD(2022)0388),
– having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the Competition State aid Brief, Issue 1/2022  ,
– having regard to the opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A9-0183/2023),
A. whereas recent Eurobarometer surveys  on EU competition policy show strong support among citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises for competition policy and its enforcement;
B. whereas competition policy should aim to support the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Digital Compass goals, and to build the resilience of the EU internal market; stresses the need for a global level playing field, including in the case of the Fit for 55 proposals;
C. whereas competition policy should bring legal certainty and regimes allowing more flexibility should be temporary, targeted and not jeopardise the integrity of the internal market;
D. whereas international collaboration and cooperation are vital to attaining a viable global level playing field and bringing about the green and digital transitions; whereas European dependencies on third countries and global powers in areas such as energy, medicines, technology or raw materials create vulnerabilities and may reduce the European Union’s ability to act;
1. Considers that EU competition policy protects market structures against anti-competitive behaviour, cartels and accumulations of market power, just as it advances efficient market structures and consumer and general welfare with a view to fostering innovation, keeping prices at fair and competitive levels and ensuring consumer choice; emphasises that the global strength and importance of the EU single market derives from its internal competitiveness and level playing field;
2. Considers that treaty-based competition rules must be interpreted in the light of the wider European values underpinning the EU’s highly competitive social market economy; reiterates that competition policy cannot be pursued in isolation, as an end in itself, without reference to the legal, international, economic or political context, nor without interaction and complementarity with other strategic EU policy objectives, or to the new competitive market dynamics and that it is committed to achieving the EU’s objectives as enshrined in Article 3 TEU;
3. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the regulatory framework is fit to respond to technological developments and to the EU’s digital connectivity objectives by making sure that funding for critical infrastructure is adequate and effective without jeopardising competition rules;
4. Welcomes the General Court’s judgment in Sped-Pro (Case T-791/19), which confirms that safeguarding the rule of law is a relevant factor for competition law;
5. Takes note of the draft Commission notice on the definition of the relevant market for the purposes of EU competition law; welcomes the Commission’s clarification in this draft notice that the definition of the relevant market should not rely solely on a product’s price but also the level of innovation it embodies; welcomes the forthcoming adoption of the draft notice, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2023; considers innovation competition to be an essential factor in the determination of the relevant market and asks the Commission to take into account a longer-term vision encompassing the global dimension and potential future competition in its competitive assessments; underlines the need to include an analysis of consumer behaviour when defining the relevant product market; in particular, appreciates all the new contributions to addressing key market definition issues concerning certain fast-moving sectors such as the digital sector;
6. Notes that the three largest credit rating agencies hold a market share of over 90 %; regrets the continued high degree of market concentration for credit rating agencies; concludes that existing measures to enhance competition in this market are insufficient;
7. Takes note of the Commission’s Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework as part of the Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age; welcomes the Commission’s approach whereby approval of State aid for individual companies under this framework can only be granted for cross-border investments or investment in assisted areas; considers that notifiable national subsidies should have EU added value; reiterates the vital role of critical raw materials in retaining Europe’s industrial base; believes that proposals for a European critical raw materials act  and a net zero industry act  , and the revision of the EU’s internal electricity market offer an opportunity to support the competitiveness of EU industry; notes the opportunities for the EU to utilise its domestic sources of critical raw materials while upholding its environmental standards; welcomes the revision of the General Block Exemption Regulation  to enable Member States to invest more in key sectors for the transition to a net-zero economy such as low-carbon hydrogen and research and development (R&D), as well as in accompanying measures to facilitate the digital transition for all sectors;
8. Underlines that a balanced reconciliation of the Union’s competition rules with its industrial and international trade policies is essential for re-shoring value chain activities and bolstering global competitiveness;
9. Points out that a robust competition policy will improve the resilience of the EU’s single market, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); notes that the strong contribution to job creation and value added make SMEs crucial to ensuring economic growth and social integration in the EU; welcomes in this regard the revised Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments, which clarify and simplify the rules under which Member States can support SMEs’ access to finance;
10. Believes that securing reciprocal market access for EU exports rather than protectionist measures would promote recovery and sustainable growth in the single market;
Policy response to the war in Ukraine and the Inflation Reduction Act
11. Welcomes the rapid adoption of the Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the subsequent prolongations thereof; stresses the importance of coordinating actions under the Temporary Crisis Frameworks put in place over the last three years; notes the Commission’s proposal to transform this into a Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF), by enlarging its scope to support all possible renewable sources of energy; stresses that any flexibility should be targeted, temporary, proportionate and consistent with EU policy objectives and not create permanent distortions in the internal market; considers that the aim of the TCTF is to shape conditions for companies to be competitive in the service of the public interest;
12. Highlights that court cases have specified that State aid cannot be granted if the recipient infringes environmental rules  and stresses that the Commission should only permit State aid by Member States if it pursues an objective of common interest; encourages Member States to introduce further binding conditions for the receipt of State aid;
13. Understands the need for additional public and private investments to fight social and regional inequality, decarbonise and digitalise industry and bolster autonomy in key economic sectors; calls on the Commission to safeguard the integrity of the internal market and ensure a level playing field; is deeply concerned about the risk of increasing fragmentation within the internal market due to excessive relaxation of State aid rules and the use of subsidies in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act; warns the Commission against international subsidy competition and calls upon the Commission to use the tools at its disposal to prevent and sanction unfair subsidy competition; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the differing levels of fiscal space available to Member States to provide support and monitor potential distortionary effects; highlights that new political initiatives, objectives and tasks funded through the EU budget, including both EU-wide and cross-border projects, must be financed with additional fresh money; calls on the Commission to investigate the lack of harmonisation of clawback mechanisms in Member States;
14. Reiterates that the EU response to the US Inflation Reduction Act should not be built solely on State aid, but should also include other areas of competition policy such as scrutiny over mergers; welcomes the latest conclusions of the European Council calling for the modernisation of public procurement rules to help foster greener industry and promote European standards to facilitate the fast roll-out of key technologies; underlines that a renewed competition framework should create a predictable and simplified regulatory framework, leading to greater trust, speed and flexibility and a lower administrative burden for companies investing and competing fairly in Europe; stresses the importance of a coordinated response that avoids distorting the EU internal energy market; calls on the Commission to improve the transparency of the State aid assessment process and stresses the need for ex post monitoring of the effective implementation of State aid adopted; calls on the European Commission to take into account the sustainability and European sovereignty criteria for public procurement rules; recalls that extraordinary levels of public support must not become the new normal and should not benefit solely large companies and their shareholders; emphasises that tax credits should not serve the sole purpose of lowering the tax obligations of large companies; urges Member States to design tax incentives carefully to promote strategic autonomy without disproportionately increasing the cost to the public coffers;
15. Notes that EU competition policy should take into account the ability of European companies to compete in global markets; stresses the importance of a structural global dialogue and cooperation on competition policy enforcement with our like-minded partners; highlights the potential of cooperation agreements with third countries; welcomes the implementation of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation; underlines that all companies operating in the EU single market must abide by the same rules; invites the Commission to pursue more dedicated competition agreements that allow for a better exchange of information between competition authorities;
16. Believes that competition is likely to assist rather than impede recovery from the crisis and improve the resilience of the Single market, stresses that a recent study  rejected the argument that relaxation of EU competition policy would promote economic recovery; regrets that, according to analysis from the pre-crisis period  , State aid in the EU was ineffective in promoting economic growth and investments; urges the Commission to assess the contribution of State aid in the EU to economic and productivity growth based on measurable indicators and systematically review its results and impact;
17. Recalls that we should learn from previous crises if we want to achieve real measurable results and impact, recovery and level playing field; recalls the lesson from the financial crisis that actions in response to urgent needs are a poor substitute for policy intervention based on sound economic analysis; regrets that several proposals were not accompanied by impact assessments due to the urgency based on the Commission’s explanation; calls on the Commission to refrain from using urgency as a justification for not preparing impact assessments for legislative proposals; calls on the Commission to prepare an in-depth analysis of impacts on competition, productivity and efficient investments for each proposal;
18. Underlines that a new European Sovereignty Fund could support EU industrial strategy; considers the use of European investment funds alongside changes to State aid rules to offer a means of avoiding internal market fragmentation;
19. Considers rising energy and food prices, leading to excessive corporate profits, to be the main drivers of the current hike in inflation; emphasises that rising energy costs relative to those in other parts of the world have been one of the key factors adversely impacting EU industry’s ability to compete on the global market; reiterates that the Commission must make use of all the available tools under competition law to tackle market distortions and unfair pricing in the energy and food markets in an impartial manner; calls for consumer vulnerability to be taken into consideration when assessing whether a dominant undertaking’s conduct is abusive;
20. Calls on the Commission to provide an effective set of instruments, including those needed for a permanent market investigation mechanism, which should be triggered automatically when certain conditions are met, such as a specific rise in prices, in order to prevent any future free-rider effects; calls in particular for the monitoring of the price differentials between wholesale and retail prices of food, feed and fertilisers; is deeply concerned by the excessive concentration in certain parts of the food supply chain, to the detriment of consumers and farmers;
21. Points out that even when products or services are supplied free of charge, consumers may still have to endure unfair behaviour, such as a degradation in quality or exploitative practices; calls therefore for the formulation of a ‘theory of harm’, which should transcend price-centric approaches and account for broader considerations such as the impact on citizens’ privacy; considers that merger thresholds based on turnover are not fit for the digital economy in which value is often represented by other factors, and equally believes that merger assessments by the Commission should not merely focus on prices; stresses that a product’s ‘fair price’ is not the lowest price possible for the consumer;
22. Supports the introduction of a rebuttable presumption that effective competition is significantly impeded by any concentration leading to a business holding a dominant position in a relevant market or any concentration involving a dominant market player or a gatekeeper as defined in the Digital Markets Act; notes that there is scope for Member States to intervene on ‘non-competitive grounds’, and asks for the Commission to be given the same possibility when examining the impact of concentration on the internal market; calls on the Commission to revise the merger guidelines to adopt a more comprehensive assessment of efficiencies in merger control and cooperation; notes that the assessment of horizontal cooperation should also recognise the importance of collaboration in markets dominated by digital gatekeepers; recognises the need to foster cooperation among players in traditional as well as digital markets, by giving the right relevance to the positive effects, such as efficiencies and benefits, in the relevant antitrust analysis; calls for the inclusion of review clauses in decisions approving a concentration with a view to introducing more appropriate conditions, without affecting the decision as such; urges the European Commission to take a broader view when evaluating digital mergers and assess the damaging effects of data concentration; points out that the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) is a growing market in which a vast amount of consumer data is collected;
23. Urges the Commission to take decisive action, under Article 22 of the EC Merger Regulation, against ‘killer acquisitions’ that must be reported to the Commission under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and for mergers in other strategic sectors; welcomes the General Court’s judgment in the Ilumina/Grail case (Case T-227/21) confirming the European Commission’s Guidance on the application of the referral mechanism set out in Article 22 of Regulation No 139/2004  to certain categories of cases, which enables the Commission to examine and possibly to prevent mergers below the quantitative jurisdictional thresholds defined by the EC Merger Regulation; urges the Commission to initiate a revision of the EC Merger Regulation in the event that the Court of Justice revokes the General Court’s judgment upon appeal and declares the Commission’s guidance void; welcomes the new guidance from the European Commission on the use of Article 22 of the EC Merger Regulation by Member States to review transactions; underlines the importance of the confirmation of this new application by the European Court of Justice to address ‘killer acquisitions’ effectively;
24. Calls for the Commission’s procedure for examining a concentration to be shortened by making full use of digitalisation;
25. Recalls that the current de minimis Regulation on State aid  expires at the end of 2023; notes the call for evidence by the Commission on its review of the services of general economic interest (SGEI) de minimis Regulation (Regulation 360/2012  ); recalls that services of general economic interest (SGEI) are subject to specific rules to protect citizens’ access to basic public services below a clear threshold; calls on the Commission to assess how EU competition principles have affected the supply of services of general economic interest, also in the light of the Covid crisis and increased costs of living and asks attention for the socio-economic realities of the various EU regions, especially in the context of state support to peripheral and island regions in the EU; believes that EU policies should be better geared towards improving regional productive specialisation while avoiding any counterproductive impacts, such as support for inefficient firms;
26. Welcomes the Commission’s willingness to take into account the effects on labour markets and wages when determining the anti-competitiveness of collusive behaviour under Article 101(1) TFEU, as demonstrated by its reference to ‘no-poach’ agreements  ; calls on the Commission to carefully balance the potential effects on wages with the need to ensure a competitive market;
27. Welcomes the Commission’s guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements  , clarifying that EU competition law does not prevent solo self-employed workers from engaging in collective bargaining; recalls that self-employed workers often have limited or no access to collective bargaining, which may lead to precarious working conditions;
28. Welcomes the evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 and Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 initiated by the Commission; considers a legislative review of these regulations necessary; calls for stronger use of structural remedies, and therefore for the primacy of behavioural remedies to be removed from Regulation (EC) No 1/2003; calls on the Commission to speed up antitrust procedures and introduce time limits to ensure the functioning of the internal market;
29. Acknowledges the existence of a legal basis for structural separation; calls on the Commission to analyse the merits of the legal base for the unbundling of undertakings as a structural remedy of last resort for antitrust violations; regrets the reluctance of the Commission to address market dominance through structural separation; considers unbundling also to be a structural remedy in situations where abuse of a dominant position on a relevant market cannot be ascertained, but where conditions for competition would improve significantly if unbundling measures were applied;
30. Points out that addressing the existing regulatory barriers and cutting red-tape to ease the entry for new competitors can often be a more effective way to address market distortions  ;
31. Underlines the importance of adopting interim measures in the enforcement of competition law to stop any practice that would seriously harm competition, particularly in relation to dynamic and fast-developing markets such as digital markets; therefore supports the Commission in enhancing the use of interim measures under the existing Regulation (EC) No 1/2003; calls for legislative action to lower the burden associated with the use of interim measures for the Commission and for national competition authorities;
32. Calls on the Commission to establish a publicly accessible database of all European and national competition law cases, including summaries in English; stresses the need for, and importance of, the independence of the national authorities while reiterating the increasing need to ensure more cooperation and sharing of information on best practices between the national authorities, so as to ensure transparency;
33. Underlines the importance of damages for infringements of competition law; considers it necessary to alleviate the burden on injured parties to successfully claim damages by introducing an obligation of the competent competition authority to state the extent of the damages in the public enforcement decision or by introducing a presumption of a minimum amount of damages calculated in relation to the infringement of competition law;
34. Deplores the fact that seven Member States have still not yet completed the implementation of Directive (EU) 2019/1  (ECN+ Directive) despite the transposition period having already expired on 4 February 2021; calls on the Commission to assess the degree of implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in the Member States and to report on the results of its application; stresses the important role of national competition authorities in enforcing competition law and in adopting interim measures;
Competition policy in the digital age
35. Welcomes the creation of new Commission directorates for the enforcement of the DMA; highlights the difference by nature between the ex-post enforcement of antitrust rules and the ex ante enforcement of the DMA; in this respect stresses the importance of keeping the resources for these two instruments within the Commission apart, although coordination between them is essential; calls on the Member States to make available additional financial resources to enable more behavioural economists, algorithms specialists, data-science and technology staff to be hired by the Commission; asks the Member States, furthermore, to second additional staff and national experts to the Commission for this task; urges the Commission to allocate a larger budget for the proper implementation and enforcement of this Regulation; welcomes the strong cooperation with the national competition authorities (NCAs) on the DMAs enforcement;
36. Highlights that the global market for app stores is dominated by two providers, each of which effectively operates as the sole gatekeeper for their customers; notes that app stores can use their position as gatekeepers to impose unfair and anticompetitive conditions on their business users; calls on the Commission to ensure swift and effective enforcement against anti-competitive practices by gatekeeping app stores, in the context of open antitrust cases and of the application of the DMA; emphasises that the DMA offers an opportunity to overcome the difficulties encountered with those antitrust cases –which served as the basis for Articles 5 and 6 of the DMA– where, firm strong decisions by the Commission, have still not led to effective remedies;
37. Stresses that competition law remains relevant to digital markets despite the entry into force of the DMA, particularly in antitrust procedures against gatekeepers, which need to be sped up; considers that violations of privacy rights can constitute abusive practices; recalls that some undertakings likely to be designated as gatekeepers have been subject to previous antitrust rulings, which have not led to effective behavioural changes, especially regarding self-preferencing, and should be taken into account when enforcing the DMA;
38. Calls on the Commission to build on existing initiatives to increase collaboration between antitrust and data privacy regulators to both control corporate data misuse and prevent companies from using consumer data to gain an unfair competitive advantage; calls upon the Commission to include the consideration of personal data and its potential value as an obligatory criterion in the evaluation of merger and acquisition approvals in the digital sector and, where relevant, look at acquisitions below the EC Merger Regulation’s thresholds under Article 14 of the DMA; further stresses that data consolidation through mergers and acquisitions can strengthen a dominant position;
39. Notes with concern that gatekeepers that develop an advantage over rivals based on the amount of data they control can achieve critical economies of scale, which contribute to the further tilting of competitive balances in digital markets and stifle innovation; expects the DMA to address these situations;
40. Welcomes the extension of the period of validity of the horizontal block exemption regulations on research and development agreements and on specialisation agreements; welcomes the revision of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation;
41. Welcomes the presentation by the Commission of draft guidelines for sustainability agreements; underlines the need for a broad understanding of consumer welfare, which should include not only price levels, but also sustainability considerations; underlines in this respect that EU competition rules should encourage horizontal coordination in order to improve the environmental and social sustainability of supply chains; points out that the efficiencies generated by such agreements in a relevant market must be sufficient to outweigh any anti-competitive effects they produce in either the same or an unrelated geographical market;
42. Stresses that competition policy aims to encourage job creation, sustainable growth as pursued by the Green Deal, innovation, consumer welfare and the integrity of the internal market; is of the opinion that sustainability is not only pursued by derogations from competition law provisions, but also by the application of competition law provisions in order to promote sustainability; calls for the presentation of draft guidelines on abusive practices, in particular with regard to achieving sustainability goals;
43. Notes that banks remain major beneficiaries of State aid; urges the Commission to bring forward its long overdue revision of the 2013 Banking Communication  ;
44. Is of the opinion that the economic sustainability of telecom networks is essential to achieving the 2030 Digital Compass connectivity targets and high performance connectivity for all citizens within the EU without jeopardising competition rules; urges the Commission to address and mitigate persistent asymmetries in bargaining power as set out by the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade  ; calls for the establishment of a policy framework where large traffic generators contribute fairly to the adequate funding of telecom networks;
45. Believes that the time required for the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) process must be significantly shortened by setting a six-month time limit once an adequate proposal has been submitted and likewise, it should be made easier for SMEs to participate in such projects;
State aid fit for purpose
46. Deplores the distortive effects of aggressive tax planning and of tax systems of certain Member States on fair competition, as it may stifle innovation and jeopardise contestability of markets, especially for SMEs; calls for companies that engage in tax avoidance using third-country tax havens to be excluded public procurement procedures and barred from receiving State aid, as these companies are competing under unfair conditions with companies established in non-tax havens; welcomes the Commission’s recommendation  of 14 July 2020 to not grant financial support to companies with links to tax havens while protecting honest taxpayers; calls on the Commission to examine the effects of tax advantages for fossil fuels;
47. Stresses that Parliament should be adequately involved in shaping competition policy; considers that Parliament should make use of its right to intervene in judicial proceedings concerning competition law when major legal concerns that are also relevant to Parliament are at stake, in legislation as well as in scrutinising the Commission’s decisions; notes that Parliament should be more closely involved in the activity of working parties and expert groups, such as the International Competition Network (ICN) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as an observer to get a better knowledge of the issues and keep abreast of developments; notes the importance of the Competition Working Group; calls on the Commission to enter into negotiations for an interinstitutional agreement on competition policy; calls on the European Council to adopt a decision under Article 48(7), second subparagraph, TEU allowing for the adoption of legislative acts in the area of competition policy in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure;
48. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the parliaments and competition authorities of the Member States.
OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ( 6.3.2023 )
for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
on the competition policy - annual report 2022
Rapporteur for opinion: Dita Charanzová
The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:
1. Recalls that fair competition is key to a properly functioning single market and economy and creates incentives for providing a diversity of products, better quality, lower prices, higher value, resilience and standards, innovation, research and better services for the consumer; stresses that consumer welfare must remain an essential aspect of competition policy; stresses, furthermore, that a strong and robust competition policy is a fundamental part of the single market, as set out in the Treaties, and is crucial for the development of a fair and level playing field for all market players, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which ensures and boosts sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness; calls on the Commission to introduce changes that create a more favourable environment for all, including start-ups and entrepreneurs, while reaffirming that SMEs could benefit from a stricter application of EU competition rules; agrees with an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommendation  that active enforcement of competition rules in the European market and openness to international trade and investment should remain policy priorities;
2. Notes that the removal of State aid limits due to the COVID-19 crisis and now Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has led to Member States providing different amounts of support to the same sectors; underlines that this has led to a playing field that is not level for the same industries within the single market; calls on the Commission to seek ways to offset this problem; notes, in particular, sharp divergences in the level of energy subsidies provided by Member States in response to rising energy prices; stresses the importance of a coordinated response that avoids distortion of the EU internal energy market; calls on the Commission to improve the transparency of the State aid assessment process and stresses the need for ex post monitoring of the effective implementation of State aid adopted;
3 . Reiterates its call on the Commission to address the anti-competitive effect of territorial supply constraints with a view to ensuring a fully functional single market and harnessing its potential benefit for consumers; reiterates that these types of constraints can take different forms, such as refusals to supply certain products or services, threats to interrupt supply to a particular distributor, limitation of quantities available for sale, unexplained differentiation within product ranges and prices between Member States or limited of language options on product packaging;
4. Underlines that State aid frameworks for responding to the COVID-19 crisis and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine should remain temporary; believes that the challenges arising from these crises should be duly taken into account in a broad reflection on industrial policy and through the updated EU industrial strategy that could help allocate resources to certain key sectors, taking into account our dependencies in key strategic areas in a way that does not distort competition between firms and can also help to lay the ground for a resilient, competitive and sustainable economy in the long term; considers that competition rules should not hamper sustainability goals but contribute to them;
5 . Considers it essential to ensure a consistent application of EU competition rules throughout the single market; stresses that EU legislation should be applied equally in all Member States and that when EU competition legislation is being implemented account should also be taken of whether suitable national funding that can be delivered in a timely manner is available; calls on the Commission to avoid creating monopolies through standardisation;
6. Believes that competition is likely to assist rather than impede recovery from the crisis and improve resilience of the single market, stresses that a recent study  rejected the argument that relaxation of EU competition policy would promote economic recovery; regrets that according to the analysis from times before the crisis  the State aid in the EU was ineffective in promoting economic growth and investments; urges the Commission to assess the contribution of State aid in the EU to economic and productivity growth based on measurable indicators and systematically review its results and impact;
7. Recalls that we should learn from previous crises if we want to achieve real measurable results and impact, recovery and a level playing field; recalls the lesson from the financial crisis that actions based on immediate needs are a poor substitute for policy interventions based on sound economic analysis; regrets that several proposals were not accompanied by impact assessments due to the urgent nature of the situation according to the Commission’s explanation; calls on the Commission to refrain from using urgency as a vindication for not preparing impact assessment for legislative proposals; calls on the Commission to prepare an in-depth analysis of impacts on competition, productivity and efficient investments for each proposal;
8. Welcomes the recent adoption of the Digital Markets Act (DMA)  and the Digital Services Act (DSA)  as essential steps towards a harmonised, fair and competitive digital single market; notes that the Commission is making significant efforts to ensure that the DMA and the DSA are fully enforced by providing sufficient additional Commission staff and resources for this task; invites the Commission to increase the resources for effective and robust implementation and enforcement of these Regulations; asks the Member States, furthermore, to second additional staff and national experts to the Commission for this task; asks the Commission to regularly update Parliament on the progress made on the implementation of the DMA and DSA; welcomes the Commission’s initiative to organise workshops on various topics related to DMA implementation;
9. Calls on the Commission to assess the degree of implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive  in the Member States and to report on the results of its application;
10. Welcomes the revision of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation  ; encourages the Commission to continue to ensure that selective distribution agreements and other technical issues, such as national model numbers and serial numbers, are not abused to limit the free flow of goods across national borders and to prevent consumers from comparing goods available in other Member States;
11. Believes that net neutrality must be maintained and protected and that competition policy must support it;
12. Reiterates its call on the Commission to continue actively monitoring and removing unjustified geo-blocking and other restrictions on cross-border online sales and having to follow at core a pro-consumer approach to allow them access to a greater choice of products and services across the EU;
13. Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a data act ( COM(2022)0068 ) which aims to address market imbalances arising from the concentration of data and to create fair and competitive market conditions for the internal market in cloud, edge and related services;
14. Calls on the Commission to assess, in relation to the recent Regulation (EU) 2022/612 on roaming on public mobile communications networks in the EU  , whether the doubtful concept of ‘fair use policy’ applied by telecom companies respects consumers’ right not to pay additional surcharges for using their mobile phone when travelling within the EU and their right to receive appropriate prior information to be able to take decisions according to their needs;
15. Notes that by its nature, competition can be local/regional, EU-European Economic Area and global; encourages the Commission, therefore, in the case of global competition, to use all tools provided for in the Union’s trade agreements and the Union’s Customs Code to counter unfair commercial trading practices, including by addressing environmental and social dumping, and unfair competition from non-EU companies which could affect the single market in order to maintain a level playing field in the single market and attract more investments;
16. Calls on the Commission to continue assisting and supporting Member States in the transposition of the ECN+ Directive  into national law in order to ensure that national competition authorities cooperate and work together to enforce EU competition rules;
17. Believes that securing reciprocal market access for EU exports rather than protectionist measures would promote recovery and sustainable growth in the single market;
18. Notes that consumers are facing rising energy prices in general, while the number of energy producers in some markets has collapsed; asks the Commission to help ensure the availability of a suitable and informed choice of providers for consumers; asks the Commission to work with Member States to facilitate boosting the availability of renewable energy, including through energy community schemes;
19. Calls on the Commission to ensure that Member States correctly apply the Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy following the aggression against Ukraine by Russia in order to ensure that support for energy costs reaches those that require it, such as the retail and wholesale sectors, which are being hit by the current crisis but are not traditionally thought of as energy intensive; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to closely monitor compliance with the Temporary Crisis Framework;
20. Observes that the uptake of electric vehicles will lead to higher electricity consumption in the future and new ways for consumers to charge their vehicles; asks the Commission and Member States to ensure interoperability, competition and price transparency between energy providers for electric vehicle charging stations; notes that a lack of competition may lead to consumers paying higher rates than necessary for charging their vehicles; calls on the Commission to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of EU and national public spending on the building of charging stations infrastructure;
21. Notes the risks of anti-competitive behaviour in the roll-out of artificial intelligence (AI), which could adversely affect the market for this; points out that the Commission needs to be equipped with the technical and human resources to research and investigate the potential impact of AI on competition; notes at the same time the benefits to consumers of AI solutions, should they reach their pro-competitive potential; calls on the Commission to consider these risks, the likelihood of them materialising and how they can be solved, and to include any relevant conclusions in the Union’s analyses of this and, if indispensable, in competition rules;
22. Stresses the importance of helping consumers and users gain greater control over the use of their data and calls for a high level of protection of personal data and emphasises that the lack of enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation  can have significant anti-competitive effects;
23. Believes that current merger control rules should be assessed with a view to determining if they are fit to deal with so-called killer acquisitions and ensure fair competition, both online and offline;
24. Recalls that services are the largest economic activity in the European Union in terms of gross added value, that they have still not yet reached their competitive potential and that the single market for services lags far behind the single market for goods; believes that the work to remove remaining obstacles should be accelerated and a single market for services fully established, including through the enforcement of competition rules; calls on the Commission and the Member States to effectively target unnecessary restrictions and to diminish unjustified barriers in the services sector, as effective regulation is beneficial for both consumers and professionals and has a positive impact on the productivity and competitiveness of the EU economy; recalls that empirical analyses have shown that restrictions on the services sector have an impact on trade and stresses that a fragmented services market hampers productivity growth in services;
25. Underlines that services of general economic interest (SGEI) are subject to specific rules to protect citizens’ access to basic public services below a clear threshold; recalls the need for better targeted and properly justified State aid, especially for SGEI, including energy, transport, telecommunication, health and social housing; calls on the Commission to swiftly follow up on the recent publication of its staff working document entitled ‘Evaluation of the State subsidy rules for health and social services of general economic interest (SGEIs) and of the SGEI de minimis Regulation’ (SWD(2022)0388), which includes a proposal for the revision of SGEI rules;
26. Notes with satisfaction that an agreement has been reached on a regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of this new EU instrument to ensure a level playing field  for all companies operating in the single market so that non-EU subsidies can be thoroughly examined and distortions can be adequately addressed; notes the lack of transparent criteria on how the Commission will assess distortions of the internal market and thus impose remedies; calls on the Commission to publish these criteria;
27. Asks the Commission to further strengthen the role of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net);
28. Stresses the role of competition policy in also enhancing regional convergence in the EU; believes that EU policies should be better geared towards improving regional productive specialisation while avoiding any counterproductive impacts, such as support to inefficient firms; stresses that industrial policy should not conflict with competition policy; agrees with OECD  that providing support to new activities should be time-limited in order to avoid ending up supporting inefficient, rent-seeking activities; urges the Commission to carry out an ex post evaluation of the EU legislation and enforcement decisions, focused on their results and impact including effectiveness of the fines and sanctions imposed for anti-competitive conduct in the internal market.
INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION
FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION
Key to symbols:
+ : in favour
- : against
0 : abstention
-  OJ C 465, 6.12.2022, p. 124.
-  OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, p. 1.
-  OJ C 508, 16.12.2021, p. 1.
-  Judgment of 9 February 2022, Sped-Pro S.A. v European Commission, T-791/19, EU:T:2022:67.
-  Judgment of 13 July 2022, Ilumina, Inc. v European Commission, T-227/21, EU:T:2022:447.
-  OJ C 131I, 24.3.2022, p. 1.
-  OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1.
-  OJ L 265, 12.10.2022, p. 1.
-  OJ L 11, 14.1.2019, p. 3.
-  OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1.
-  OJ L 123, 27.4.2004, p. 18.
-  OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671.
-  OJ C 80, 18.2.2022, p. 1.
-  OJ C 36, 31.1.2023, p. 1.
-  Competition State aid brief. Issue 1/2022 – February 2022 .
-  Flash Eurobarometer 510 and Flash Eurobarometer 511 .
-  COM(2023)0160 .
-  COM(2023)0161 .
-  Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (OJ L 187, 26.6.2014, p. 1).
-  Judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU of 22 September 2020 Austria v Commission (C-594/18 P) EU:C:2020:742. para. 45.
-  Massey, P. and McDowell, M., EU Competition Law: An Unaffordable Luxury in Times of Crisis? World Competition.
-  Tunali, C. and Fidrmuc, J., State Aid Policy in the European Union . Journal of common market studies, Wiley, 2015.
-  Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1).
-  Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid (OJ L 352/1, 24.12.2013, p. 1).
-  Commission Regulation (EU) 360/2012 of 25 April 2012 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid granted to undertakings providing services of general economic interest (OJ L 114, 26.4.2012, p. 8).
-  Speech by Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager , 22 October 2021.
-  Communication from the commission Guidelines on the application of Union competition law to collective agreements regarding the working conditions of solo self-employed persons (OJ C 374, 30.9.2022, p. 2).
-  For example, academic research suggests that privacy regulations, such as GDPR, can function as nonpecuniary barriers to trade, especially if enacted by a large economic area. See Peukert, C. et al., Regulatory export and spillovers: How GDPR affects global markets for data , VoxEU, 2020.
-  Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market (OJ L 11, 14.1.2019, p. 3).
-  Communication from the Commission on the application, from 1 August 2013 , of State aid rules to support measures in favour of banks in the context of the financial crisis (‘Banking Communication’) (OJ C 216, 30.7.2013, p. 1).
-  OJ C 23, 23.1.2023, p. 1.
-  Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/1039 of 14 July 2020 on making State financial support to undertakings in the Union conditional on the absence of links to non-cooperative jurisdictions (OJ L 227, 16.7.2020, p. 76).
-  OECD, Enhancing regional convergence in the European Union , OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 1696, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2021.
-  Massey, P., and McDowell, M., EU Competition Law: An Unaffordable Luxury in Times of Crisis?. World Competition 44, no. 4, 2021, pp. 405–432.
-  Tunali, C.B. and Fidrmuc, J., State Aid Policy in the European Union . Journal of Common Market Studies (online).
-  Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2022 on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector and amending Directives (EU) 2019/1937 and (EU) 2020/1828 (Digital Markets Act) (OJ L 265, 12.10.2022, p. 1).
-  Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act) (OJ L 277, 27.10.2022, p. 1).
-  Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (Unfair Commercial Practices Directive) (OJ L 149 11.6.2005, p. 22).
-  Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/720 of 10 May 2022 on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices (OJ L 134, 11.5.2022, p. 4).
-  OJ L 115, 13.4.2022, p. 1.
-  Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market (OJ L 11, 14.1.2019, p. 3).
-  Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
-  Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market ( COM(2021)0223 ).
-  OECD, Enhancing regional convergence in the European Union , OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 1696, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2021.
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U.S. OECD Submissions On Competition Policy
U.S. Submissions to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Competition Committee.
May 26, 2021
Competition Compliance Programmes - Note by the United States
December 2, 2020
Economic Analysis In Merger Investigations – Contribution from the United States
November 27, 2020
The Role of Competition Policy in Promoting Economic Recovery - Note by the United States
November 26, 2020
Using Market Studies To Tackle Emerging Competition Issues
June 12, 2020
Consumer data rights and competition – Note by the United States
June 10, 2020
Conglomerate effects of mergers – Note by the United States
June 4, 2020
Start-ups, killer acquisitions and merger control – Note by the United States
May 25, 2020
Criminalization of cartels and bid rigging conspiracies – Note by the United States
November 28, 2019
Hub-and-spoke arrangements – Note by the United States
Competition For-The-Market – Contribution from the United States
November 26, 2019
Access to the case file and protection of confidential information – Note by the United States
November 24, 2019
Merger Control in Dynamic Markets – Contribution from the United States
November 22, 2019
Independent Sector Regulators – Note by the United States
October 24, 2019
Competition Provisions In Trade Agreements – Contribution from the United States
June 11, 2019
Publicly funded education markets – Note by the United States
June 6, 2019
Licensing of IP rights and competition law – Note by the United States
June 4, 2019
Digital Disruption in Financial Markets – Note by the United States
The standard of review by courts in competition cases – Note by the United States
Vertical mergers in the technology, media and telecom sector – Note by the United States
February 20, 2019
Suspensory Effects of Merger Notifications and Gun Jumping Background Note by the Secretariat
January 31, 2019
Treatment of Legally Privileged Information in Competition Proceedings Background Paper by the Secretariat
November 24, 2018
Investigative Powers in Practice – Breakout Session 2 and Breakout Session 3 - Contribution from the United States
November 23, 2018
Excessive Pricing in Pharmaceutical Markets - Note by the United States
November 22, 2018
Quality considerations in the zero-price economy – Note by the United States
Competition Law and State-Owned Enterprises – Contribution from the United States
November 21, 2018
Regional Competition Agreements: Benefits and Challenges – Contribution from the United States
Personalised Pricing in the Digital Era – Note by the United States
Treatment of legally privileged information in competition proceedings – Note by the United States
Suspensory Effects of Merger Notifications and Gun Jumping - Note by the United States
November 20, 2018
Personalised Pricing in the Digital Era Background Note by the Secretariat
October 9, 2018
Quality considerations in digital zero-price markets Background note by the Secretariat
October 3, 2018
Excessive Prices in Pharmaceutical Markets Background Note by the Secretariat
May 30, 2018
Non-Price Effects of Mergers - Note by the United States
May 25, 2018
Taxi, ride-sourcing and ride-sharing services - Note by the United States
May 23, 2018
Roundtable on challenges and co-ordination of leniency programmes - Note by the United States
Roundtable on designing and testing effective consumer-facing remedies - Note by the United States
Implications of E-commerce for Competition Policy - Note by the United States
December 1, 2017
Roundtable on Safe Harbours and Legal Presumptions in Competition Law - Note by the United States
Judicial Perspectives on Competition Law Contribution from the United States
Roundtable on the Extraterritorial Reach of Competition Remedies - Note by the United States
November 30, 2017
Co-operation between Competition Agencies and Regulators in the Financial Sector - Note by the United States
November 28, 2017
Hearing on Common Ownership by Instit Investors & its Impact on Competition - Note by the United States
June 19, 2017
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States - 2016
May 26, 2017
Algorithms and Collusion
Competition Issues in Aftermarkets
Methodologies for Conducting Market Studies
November 21, 2016
Roundtable on Price Discrimination
November 18, 2016
Innovation and Competition in Land Transport
November 17, 2016
Agency Decision-Making in Merger Cases: From a Prohibition Decision to a Conditional Clearance
November 10, 2016
Sanctions in Antitrust Cases
November 8, 2016
Geographic Market Definition
November 7, 2016
Independence of Competition Authorities - From Designs to Practices
June 15, 2016
Commitment Decisions in Antitrust Cases
Public Interest Considerations in Merger Control
Selected U.S. Submissions on Competition Policy
June 13, 2016
Disruptive Innovation in Legal Services
October 20, 2015
Does Competition Create or Kill Jobs
October 16, 2015
Hearing on Across Platform Parity Agreements
October 12, 2015
Serial Offenders: Why Some Industries Seem Prone to Endemic Collusion
October 7, 2015
Roundtable on Cartels Involving Intermediate Goods
July 16-18, 2015
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States - 2014
June 19, 2015
Hearing on Disruptive Innovation
June 12, 2015
Hearing on Oligopoly Markets
June 9, 2015
Roundtable on Competitive Neutrality in Competition Enforcement
June 5, 2015
Relationship Between Public and Private Antitrust Enforcement
May 26, 2015
Competition Issues in Liner Shipping
December 8, 2014
Intellectual Property and Standard Setting
November 20, 2014
Use of Markers in Leniency Programs
June 19, 2014
June 17, 2014
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States --2013--
June 16, 2014
June 11, 2014
Financing of the Roll-Out of Broadband Networks
February 10, 2014
Competition Issues in the Distribution of Pharmaceuticals
February 4, 2014
Investigations of Consummated and Non-Notifiable Mergers
January 16, 2014
Fighting Corruption and Promoting Competition
October 9, 2013
Competition Issues in Food Chain Industry
October 4, 2013
Discussion on How to Define Confidential Information
Remedies in Cross-Border Merger Cases
October 1, 2013
Waste Management Services
September 27, 2013
Roundtable on Ex Officio Cartel Investigations and the Use of Screens to Detect Cartels
June 17, 2013
Role and Measurement of Quality in Competition Analysis
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States 2012
June 10, 2013
Roundtable on Competition in Road Fuel
June 4, 2013
Recent Developments in Rail Transportation Services
Definition of Transaction for the Purpose of Merger Control Review
February 25, 2013
Vertical Restraints for On-Line Sales
February 21, 2013
Competition and Poverty Reduction
February 11, 2013
Competition Issures in Television and Broadcasting
February 7, 2013
Methods for Allocating Contracts for the Provision of Regional and Local Transportation Services
October 19, 2012
Competition and Payment Systems
October 10, 2012
Roundtable on the Role of Efficiency Claims in Antitrust Proceedings
October 1, 2012
Discussion on Leniency for Subsequent Applicants
August 7, 2012
2011 Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States
June 7, 2012
February 8, 2012
Unilateral Disclosure of Information with Anticompetitive Effects
Competition in Hospital Services
February 7, 2012
Competition and Commodity Price Volatility
January 31, 2012
Improving International Co-operation in Cartel Investigations
October 18, 2011
The Relationship Between Competition Authorities and Courts
October 17, 2011
June 29, 2011
2010 Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States
Impact Evaluation of Merger Decisions
Promoting Compliance with Competition Law
June 28, 2011
Remedies in Merger Cases
June 27, 2011
Competition Concerns in Ports and Port Services
February 9, 2011
Economic Evidence in Merger Analysis
February 8, 2011
Quantification of Harm to Competition by National Courts and Competition Agencies
The Regulated Conduct Defense
February 3, 2011
Cross-Border Merger Control: Challenges for Developing and Emerging Economies
January 17, 2011
October 21, 2010
Horizontal Agreement in the Environmental Context
Information Exchanges between Competitors under Competition Law
October 20, 2010
Arbitration and Competition
October 19, 2010
Emission Permits and Competition
Pro-Active Policies for Green Growth and the Market Economy
August 19, 2010
2009 Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in the United States
June 11, 2010
Procedural Fairness Issues in Civil and Administrative Enforcement
June 9, 2010
June 8, 2010
Competition and Sports
June 7, 2010
Public Procurement & Bid Rigging Issues
February 12, 2010
Transparency Issues in Civil and Administrative Proceedings
February 11, 2010
Electricity Renewable and Smart Grids
February 4, 2010
Competition, Concentration and Stability in the Banking Sector
January 20, 2010
Collusion and Corruption in Public Procurement
October 19, 2009
October 14, 2009
October 12, 2009
State-Owned Enterprises and Competitive Neutrality
October 6, 2009
Failing Firm Defense
June 9, 2009
Change of Merger Review Standard from the Dominance Test to the SLC/SIEC Test
Competition, Patents and Innovation
June 8, 2009
Competition and Regulation in Auditing and Related Professions
February 19, 2009
Competition Policy and the Informal Economy
February 12, 2009
Competition Policy, Industrial Policy and National Champions
February 11, 2009
Competition and Financial Markets Supplement
January 30, 2009
Competition and Financial Markets
October 12, 2001
Range Effects: The United States Perspective
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An important forum for discussing competition policy issues is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with its Competition Committee and its two working groups on “Competition and Regulation” and “International Cooperation”.
Discussion Papers of the German Delegation
You can find more information on the OECD website .
- Competition Committee: Algorithmic competition – Note by Germany (June 2023)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: The Future of Effective Leniency Programmes – Note by Germany (June 2023)
- Competition Committee: Director Disqualification and Bidder Exclusion – Note by Germany (November 2022)
- Competition Committee: Competition and Inflation – Note by Germany (November 2022)
- Competition Committee: The Evolving Concept of Market Power in the Digital Economy – Note by Germany (June 2022)
- Competition Committee: News Media and Digital Platforms - Note by Germany (December 2021)
- Competition Committee: Ex-Ante Regulation and Competition in Digital Markets - Note by Germany (December 2021)
- Working Party No. 3: Competition Compliance Programmes - Note by Germany (June 2021)
- Competition Committee: Abuse of dominance in digital markets – Note by Germany (December 2020)
- Competition Committee: Sustainability and Competition – Note by Germany (December 2020)
- Competition Committee: Consumer data rights and competition – Note by Germany (June 2020)
- Competition Committee: Start-ups, killer acquisitions and merger control– Note by Germany (June 2020)
- Competition Committee: Hub-and-spoke arrangements – Note by Germany (November 2019)
- Working Party No. 3: Access to the case file and protection of confidential information – Note by Germany (November 2019)
- Competition Committee: Vertical mergers in the technology, media and telecom sector (June 2019)
- Working Party No. 3: The standard of review by courts in competition cases (June 2019)
- Competition Committee: Suspensory Effects of Merger Notifications and Gun Jumping - Note by Germany (November 2018)
- Competition Committee: Quality considerations in the zero-price economy – Note by Germany (November 2018)
- Competition Committee: Implications of E-commerce for Competition Policy-Note by Germany (June 2018)
- Competition Committee: Effects of Mergers-Note by Germany (June 2018)
- Competition Committee: Common ownership by institutional investors and its impact on competition (December 2017)
- Competition Committee: Roundtable on Safe Harbours and Legal Presumptions in Competition Law (December 2017)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Roundtable on the Extraterritorial Reach of Competition Remedies (December 2017)
- Competition Committee: Hearing on multi-sided markets. Sebastian Wismer & Arno Rasek - Market definition in multi-sided markets (June 2017)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Methodologies to conduct market studies (June 2017)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Agency decision-making in merger cases: trade-offs between prohibition decisions and conditional clearances (November 2016)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Public Interest Considerations in Merger Control (June 2016)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Jurisdictional Nexus in Merger Control Regimes (June 2016)
- Competition Committee: Hearing on Across Platform Parity Agreements (October 2015)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Relationship between Public and Private Antitrust Enforcement (June 2015)
- Competition Committee: Roundtable on Competitive Neutrality in Competition Enforcement (June 2015)
- Competition Committee: Use of Markers in Leniency Programs (December 2014)
- Competition Committee: Intellectual Property and Standard Setting (December 2014)
- Competition Committee: Airline Competition (June 2014)
- Global Forum on Competition: Competition Issues in the Distribution of Pharmaceuticals (February 2014)
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Investigations of Consummated and non-notifiable Mergers (February 2014)
- Competition Committee: Roundtable on Competition Issues in the Food Chain Industry
- Working Party No. 2 on Competition and Regulation: Waste Management Services
- Competition Committee: Roundtable on Vertical Restraints for On-Line Sales
- Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement: Definition of Transaction for the Purpose of Merger Control Review
- Competition Committee: Roundtable on Competition in Road Fuel
Further papers you may find here .
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany - 2021
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany - 2020
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany - 2019
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany - 2018
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany July 2017 - June 2018
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany July 2016 - June 2017
Annual Report on Competition Policy Developments in Germany July 2015 - June 2016
Previous Annual Reports you may find here.
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Annual Report of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (April 2022-March 2023)
June 16, 2023 Japan Fair Trade Commission
The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), which reports annually to the Diet via the Prime Minister on the status of enforcement of the Antimonopoly Act and other laws and regulations under its jurisdiction pursuant to Article 44, Paragraph 1 of the Antimonopoly Act, submitted today to the Diet its Annual Report for FY2022. The summary of the report is as follows.
１ Developments in Antimonopoly Act and relevant regulations
1.1 revision of the antimonopoly act.
On March 7, 2023, a bill to partially amend the Basic Act on the Formation of Digital Society to Promote Regulatory Reforms for the Formation of a Digital Society was submitted to the 211th ordinary Diet session, including an amendment to the Antimonopoly Act to allow service of public notice to be viewed via the Internet.
1.2 Submission to the Diet of the Bill for the Act on the Improvement of Transactions Pertaining to Specified Entrusted Business Operators.
Based on the "Grand Design and Action Plan for a New Form of Capitalism" (approved by the Cabinet on June 7, 2022), which stated that a legal system for fair transactions with freelance workers should be studied and submitted to the Diet as soon as possible, and in light of the diversification of work styles in Japan, and in order to create an environment in which individuals can stably engage in business entrusted to them as business operators, a "Bill on the Act on the Improvement of Transactions Pertaining to Specified Entrusted Business Operators" was submitted to the 211th Diet session on February 24, 2023, with the content that it would take measures such as requiring business operators who entrust business to specified entrusted business operators to clearly indicate the contents of proceeds and other matters.
1.3 Revision of other laws and regulations under its jurisdiction
The JFTC enacted the "Regulations Concerning Dispositions under Article 40 of the Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade" (Fair Trade Commission Rule No. 2 of 2022, promulgated on August 12, 2022, and became effective on the same day) to specify documents to be served under the investigative authority prescribed in Article 40 of the Antimonopoly Act. In addition, in order to strengthen the organizational structure for enforcement for proper small and medium-sized subcontracting transactions based on the "Comprehensive Economic Measures to Overcome High Prices and Achieve Economic Revival" (Cabinet decision on October 28, 2022), etc., the JFTC amended the Organization Order of the General Secretariat (Cabinet Order No. 373 of 1952, the amendment promulgated and became effective on December 9, 2022), etc. In addition, in order to improve the convenience of applicants, etc. and the efficiency of administrative work for procedures based on the Antimonopoly Act, etc., and with the enhancement of the online receipt function of applications in conjunction with the renewal of the JFTC's website system, the "Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act on the Promotion of Administration through Information and Communications Technology with regard to Laws and Regulations under the Jurisdiction of the Japan Fair Trade Commission" (Fair Trade Commission Rule No. 1 of 2003) was amended (Fair Trade Commission Rule No. 2 of 2023, promulgated on March 31, 2023 and became effective on April 1 of the same year).
2 Strict and Accurate Law Enforcement
2.1 active elimination of the ama violations.
2.1.1 Under the fundamental policy of conducting prompt and effective case investigations, the JFTC takes strict and active measures against diverse cases that accurately respond to social needs, including price-fixing cartels and bid rigging cases that have significant impacts on the public, abuse of superior bargaining position that unjustly disadvantages SMEs and unjust low price sales (predatory pricing).
2.1.2 In FY2022, the JFTC opened investigations against 116 cases of suspected AMA violations and of these, completed 99 cases.
2.1.3 During the same period of time, the JFTC took eleven legal measures, including eight cease and desist orders and three commitment plan approvals. In terms of conduct types, the legal measures were taken against one price-fixing cartel, three other type of cartels, four bid rigging cases and three unfair trade practice cases (See Figure 1). The JFTC also ordered payment of surcharge (administrative fine) totalling JPY 101.99 billion (approximately USD 731.76 million) to a total of 21 enterprises (See the table below). Under the leniency program to motivate enterprises to self-report their violations, the JFTC received a total of 22 applications in FY2022.
2.1.4 In FY2022, the JFTC also closed one investigation in light of voluntary measures taken by the suspected enterprise, which was made public.
(Refer to figure 2 for numbers of the cases mentioned above)
Figure 1: Number of Cases Involving Legal Measures (Note1)
(Note 1) "Legal measures" refer to cease and desist orders, surcharge payment orders and approvals of the commitment plans. The case in which both a cease and desist order and a surcharge payment order are issued is counted as one legal measure. (Note 2) The cases which fall into both private monopolization and unfair trade practice are categorised as “Private monopolization.” (Note 3) Other cartels" are cartels involving quantity, sales channels, prohibitions on customer movement, facility restrictions, etc.
Figure 2: Number of Cease and Desist Orders, Approval of the Commitment Plan, Warning,etc.
(Note) Only cases which were made public.
Table: Amount of Surcharge (Administrative Fine)
(Note) Surcharges have been rounded down to the nearest ten million yen.
2.1.5 In addition, JFTC’s efforts for appropriate and prompt law enforcements include 275 cautions (including 192 cautions for promptly dealing with unjustly low price sales cases) on practices likely to lead to the AMA violations.
2.1.6 The JFTC requests business associations, etc. to take the necessary measure in light of competition policy, when it finds in the course of the investigation on the AMA that such a measure should be taken in terms of competition policy. In FY2022, the JFTC made such a request to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.
2.1.7 The JFTC has actively pursued criminal prosecution for malicious and serious cases that are considered to have a broad impact on people's lives. In FY2022, the JFTC, having investigated into a bid-rigging case concerning the “outsourcing contracts of planning test events, etc.” regarding the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 ordered by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, believed a criminal violation of the AMA and filed, on February 28, 2023, a criminal accusation with the Prosecutor General against 6 companies, 6 individuals of the 6 companies who were engaged in work related to winning the outsourcing contracts of planning test events, etc., and 1 individual in charge of work related to ordering the outsourcing contracts of planning test events, etc. as an operations executive at the Tokyo Organizing Committee.
2.2 Promotion of Fair Trade Practices
2.2.1 Efforts against Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position
The JFTC has conducted surveillance to prevent abuse of superior bargaining position that constitutes unfair trade practice under the AMA and has tackled the violations. In addition, a Task Force on Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position Cases has been established to conduct investigations into acts of abuse of a superior bargaining position in an efficient and effective manner and to take necessary corrective measures. In FY2022, the JFTC issued 55 cautions against suspected abuses of superior bargaining position that are likely to lead of AMA violations.
2.2.2 Efforts against Unjust Low-Price Sales (Predatory Pricing)
The JFTC takes a prompt action against unjust low-price sales in the retail industry. When unjust low-price sales by retailers are repeated, or conducted by large-scale retailers, and they are considered to significantly affect other competing retailers operating in neighbouring areas, the JFTC investigates the impact of their conduct on respective competing retailers. If the JFTC finds it anticompetitive, it takes stern actions including legal measures. In FY2022, the JFTC issued cautions in 192 cases in the retail sector, including liquor, petroleum products, on the grounds of practices likely to lead to unjust low price sales (37 cases for liquor, 151 for petroleum products and four for products in other categories). In addition, in light of changes in the business environment surrounding the gasoline distribution industry, and in order to further ensure transparency in the application of the law and increase predictability for business operators, on November 11, 2022, the JFTC released the revision of "Measures against Unjustifiable Underestimation and Discriminatory Pricing in the Distribution of Gasoline, etc."
2.2.3 Proactive Elimination of Violations of the Act against Delay in Payment of Subcontract Proceeds, etc. to Subcontractors
22.214.171.124 In light of the reality of subcontracting transactions, where it is difficult to expect voluntary provision of information from subcontractors, the JFTC, in cooperation with the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, has been making efforts to detect violations of the Act by conducting regular surveys of main subcontracting enterprises and subcontractors who do business with them. In addition, in order to ensure that the independent business activities of small and medium-sized business operators are not hampered by the still severe business environment surrounding them, the JFTC is striving to ensure fairness in subcontracting transactions and to protect the interests of subcontractors through prompt and effective implementation of the Subcontract Act. In FY2022, periodic surveys were conducted on 70,000 main subcontracting enterprises and 300,000 subcontractors doing business with them. As a result of the periodic surveys, 6 recommendations were issued and 8,665 cases of guidance were given based on the Subcontract Act (see Figure 3).
Figure3: Number of the Subcontract Act cases
(Note) Refer to 126.96.36.199 below about voluntarily reported cases.
188.8.131.52 In FY2022, a total of 1,134.65 million yen worth of restitution was made to 6,294 subcontractors by 180 main subcontracting enterprises for disadvantages suffered by the subcontractors, including restitution of reduced subcontract proceeds (see Figure 4). Main items included in this amount were as follows: (1) in a case involving a reduction of subcontract proceeds, the main subcontracting enterprise returned a total of 855.61 million yen to the subcontractors; (2) in a case involving a delay in payment of subcontract proceeds, the main subcontracting enterprise paid a total of 140.64 million yen as interest for the delay; and (3) in a case involving return of goods, the main subcontracting enterprise withdrew goods worth 115.12 million yen in total from the subcontractors. (iv) in a case involving an unjust request for the provision of economic benefits, the main subcontracting enterprise returned to the subcontractor a total of 18.65 million yen as benefits provided.
Figure4: Amount of restitution
184.108.40.206 In light of the fact that voluntary improvement measures by the main subcontracting enterprises contribute to the early recovery of the disadvantages suffered by the subcontractors, the JFTC, in cases where it finds reasons such as a voluntary offer of violation and voluntary improvement measures being taken before the JFTC initiates an investigation, encourages compliance with laws and regulations by the main subcontracting enterprises. From the viewpoint of encouraging compliance by the main subcontracting enterprises, the JFTC has decided to treat such cases as not requiring a recommendation to take necessary measures to protect the interests of the subcontractor, and has made a public announcement to this effect (December 17, 2008). In FY2022, there were 23 cases of aforementioned voluntary reporting of violations by the main subcontracting enterprises. There were 20 cases of voluntary submissions processed in the same fiscal year, one of which was a case in which the content of the violations was such that the disadvantage to the subcontractor was so great that it warranted a recommendation.
2.2.4 Efforts regarding the "Action Plan for the Promotion of Fair Trade by Small and Medium-sized Businesses, etc." based on the "Package of Measures to Facilitate Transfers for Value Creation through Partnership
On March 30, 2022, the JFTC formulated the "Action Plan for Promotion of Fair Trade by Small and Medium Sized Businesses in 2022" based on the "Package of Measures to Facilitate Transfers for Value Creation through Partnership" compiled by the relevant ministries and agencies including the JFTC on December 27, 2021. Based on this plan, the JFTC made unprecedented efforts to realize appropriate price pass-through, in which it conducted an emergency survey of 110,000 undertakings in 22 industries regarding "abuse of a superior bargaining position" under the Antimonopoly Act, and issued a letter of warning to 4,030 enterprises whose conduct was found to have the potential to lead to problems, as well as published the names of 13 enterprises who were found to be deferring review of transaction prices without consultation with numerous suppliers. In addition, on March 1, 2023, the JFTC formulated a new "Action Plan for the Promotion of Fair Trade by Small and Medium Sized Businesses in 2023" and compiled policies for further action to realize appropriate price pass-thorough such as sending a written request to approximately 1,600 related business associations for smooth price pass-through.
2.2.5 Efforts for smooth pass-on of consumption tax
The JFTC actively conducted on-site inspections and other investigations based on information obtained through various information-gathering activities, including consultations and provision of information to consultation desks set up at the JFTC headquarters and regional offices nationwide, and through the use of questionnaire surveys under the Subcontract Act, and provided guidance in 161 cases under the Act on Special Measures for Pass-On of Consumption Tax. In addition, a total of 414.97 million yen was restored to its original state. The Act on Special Measures for Pass-On of Consumption Tax expired on March 31, 2021. However, in accordance with Article 2, Paragraph 2 of the Supplementary Provisions of the Act, the provisions for investigations, guidance, and recommendations for violations committed prior to the expiration of the Act shall remain in effect even after the Act expires. Therefore, the JFTC will continue to promptly and appropriately deal with acts of refusal to transfer that were committed prior to the expiration of the provisions.
2.3 Improvement in Merger Review
The AMA prohibits an acquisition of shares, shareholding, merger and other transactions (hereinafter collectively referred to as "merger(s)") that would substantially restrain competition in a particular field of trade. The JFTC operates merger regulations in a prompt and appropriate way in order to ensure competitive market structure in Japan. The JFTC also actively utilizes economic analysis in merger review if necessary. In FY2022, based on Articles 9 to 16 of the AMA, the JFTC approved 21 cases of acquiring and holding of voting rights of non-financial companies by banks or insurance companies; and it also received 116 reports from holding companies on their business and 306 prior notifications of mergers, and conducted necessary review on these cases. In addition, the JFTC conducted necessary review based on the "Policies Concerning Procedures of Review of Business Combination" (Fair Trade Commission, published on June 14, 2011 and amended on December 17, 2019), which stipulate that the JFTC reviews merger cases of which the total consideration for the acquisition is large and which are expected to affect domestic consumers, even if they do not meet the notification thresholds in the AMA. In addition, on June 22, 2022, the JFTC published "JFTC’s Practice on Submission of Internal Documents in Review of Business Combinations" to contribute to smooth communication between the parties and the JFTC regarding the submission of internal documents.
3 Improvement of Competitive Environment (Advocacy)
3.1 toward the active promotion of competition policy in response to digitization and other socioeconomic changes.
In the midst of rapid changes in the social economy, such as the advancement of digitalization, it has become important to create a competitive environment that encourages innovation and corporate growth. To this end, the JFTC has been working to eliminate violations of the Antimonopoly Act through strict and appropriate enforcement, and improving the competitive environment through advocacy to improve business practices in various fields and to propose revisions of regulations and systems. On June 16, 2022, the JFTC released a statement entitled "Towards the Active Promotion of Competition Policy in response to Socioeconomic Changes as represented by Digitalization - Coordination and Strengthening of Advocacy and Enforcement –” The statement expressed the JFTC's commitment to strengthen its whole of the organization responses to socioeconomic changes, such as the advancement of digitalization, by working more vigorously to promote enforcement and advocacy as two wheels of a cart.
3.2 Establishment of Guidelines, etc.
The JFTC has established and published Guidelines that identify the actions that may actually be AMA violations in activities of enterprises and trade associations, in order to prevent enterprises and trade associations from violating the AMA and to help them promote proper business activities.
3.3 Fact-Finding Survey
The JFTC has conducted fact-finding surveys in a variety of fields actively and, based on their results, pointed out problems and issues from a viewpoint of the AMA and competition policy to encourage enterprises and trade associations to improve the trade practices by themselves, and recommended that regulatory authorities should review regulations and systems, thereby promoting competitive environment.
3.4 Study Group on Innovation and Competition Policy
Ensuring a market environment conducive to innovation is an important and new policy issue in competition policy, and it is important to properly assess possible future innovation as having long-term effects on the competitive environment. Based on this recognition, the JFTC has been holding the "Study Group on Innovation and Competition Policy" since March 2023 for the purpose of theoretically and systematically studying the mechanisms by which corporate behaviours affect innovation, based on economic and other knowledge in order to gain a deeper understanding and knowledge on these matters.
3.5 Participation in the Digital Market Competition Council
Under the Headquarters for Digital Market Competition established within the Cabinet, the Digital Market Competition Council has been held to examine and discuss the important matters concerning digital markets. The Council is chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary, and includes the Minister of State for Special Missions of the Cabinet Office, who is in charge of administrative affairs related to the JFTC, and the Chair of the JFTC as its members. The 6th conference of the Council were held on April 26th, 2022, and the Minister of State for Special Missions of the Cabinet Office and the Chair of the JFTC participated in them.
3.6 Implementation of Competition Assessment
All of the government ministries and agencies have been in principle mandated to conduct an Ex-ante Regulatory Impact Assessment (“RIA”), which includes an analysis of the impacts of the regulations on competition (competition assessment), when establishing, revising or abolishing regulations. The Ex-ante RIA requires the relevant ministries and agencies to fill out the “competition assessment checklist” and then submit the completed checklist together with an Ex-ante RIA report to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Communications (“MIC”), which is supposed to forward the checklists to the JFTC. In FY2022, the JFTC received 227 competition assessment checklists from the MIC and examined them. In addition, the JFTC held two meetings in which the experts with knowledge or insights about economics or policy evaluation of regulation discussed competition assessment, in order to improve an approach of competition assessment, for the purpose of appropriate implementation of RIA.
3.7 Efforts to Prevent Bid Rigging
Since procurement officers’ efforts are extremely important for the thorough elimination of bid rigging, the JFTC has been holding training seminars on the AMA and the Act for the Prevention of Collusive Bidding at the Initiative of Government Officials for procurement officers at local governments, providing them with practical knowledge about competition law and policy. The JFTC has also been cooperating with other government ministries and agencies, local governments and publicly owned companies by dispatching its officials as resource persons or providing materials to the related seminars organized by those ministries and agencies. In FY2022 the JFTC held 36 training seminars and dispatched resource persons to 225 training seminars hosted by government ministries and agencies, local governments and publicly owned companies.
3.8 Consultation Services
The JFTC answers questions about the AMA and related laws from enterprises, trade associations, general consumers, etc. in writing or orally.
Reinforcement of Foundations for Operation of Competition Policy
4.1 development of theoretical and empirical foundations for competition policy.
Since its establishment in the JFTC in June 2003, the Competition Policy Research Center (“CPRC”) has been strengthening theoretical and empirical foundations for the enforcement of the AMA, and for planning, policy making and evaluation of the JFTC’s competition policy. In FY2022, the CPRC held two symposiums and one “Open Seminar”. In FY2022, the CPRC held two symposiums and one “Open Seminar”.
4.2 Utilization of Economic Analysis in Competition Policy and Law Enforcement
Based on the "Follow-up to the Growth Strategy" (Cabinet decision on June 18, 2021), the JFTC established the "Office of Economic Analysis" on April 1, 2022 to strengthen the system for conducting high-quality economic analysis that can serve as a basis for enforcing the AMA and formulating competition policies. In addition, on May 31, 2022, the JFTC published "Points to Consider When Submitting An Economic Analysis Report and Data". It also published the results of economic analysis that was used in the investigation of cases involving alleged violations of the AMA, merger review, and various fact-finding surveys published in FY2022.
4.3 Response to the Globalization of the Economy
4.3.1 Reinforcement of Cooperation with Other Competition Authorities
Based on bilateral and multilateral competition agreements, the JFTC closely cooperates with foreign competition authorities through the ways such as notifying competition authorities of the related jurisdictions of enforcement actions. The JFTC holds bilateral meetings with competition authorities in countries or areas with particularly active economic relations with Japan.
4.3.2 Efforts Related to Economic Partnership Agreements, etc.
The JFTC considers competition policy as an important element in Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and participates in negotiations with an intention to incorporate the competition chapter including articles related to a cooperation framework on competition in EPAs. In FY2022, the JFTC participated in the negotiations for the conclusion of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
4.3.3 Participation in the Multilateral Conferences
The JFTC's chair has been a member of the ICN Steering Group since its establishment, and the JFTC has been a co-chair of the Unilateral Conduct Working Group since May 2020. In March 2023, the JFTC hosted a workshop in Tokyo on "Developments and Challenges in Competition Policy and Enforcement in the Current Unilateral Conduct Area ". The JFTC’s commissioner and other staff participate in meetings of the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Moreover, on October 12, 2022, the Chairman of the JFTC attended the "Enforcers and Policy Makers Summit" held in Berlin, attended by top officials from competition authorities and policy makers of the G7 countries. The JFTC actively participates in multilateral meetings such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the East Asia Top Level Officials’ Meeting on Competition Policy (EATOP).
4.3.4 Technical Assistance
The JFTC has been providing technical assistance regarding competition policy to competition authorities of the developing countries such as dispatching its officials or providing training courses. In FY2022, the JFTC carried out technical assistance projects in Vietnam, Mongolia, Malaysia, and Thailand in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and also provided training courses on competition law and policy for officials from jurisdictions where competition laws had been newly introduced or strengthened.
4.4 Raising Public Awareness of Competition Policy
The JFTC solicited opinions, requests and suggestions from members of the “Antimonopoly Policy Cooperation Committee” for the purpose of utilizing them in implementing competition policy, and of promoting better understanding of it. In order to ensure a timely response to socioeconomic changes and advance competition policy in an effective and appropriate manner, the JFTC organizes the “Council on Antimonopoly Policy” to promote broad opinion exchanges with experts and greater public understanding of competition policy. In FY2022, three council meetings were organized. The JFTC commissioners and senior officials had meetings with locally based experts in eight cities in FY2022. The JFTC also arranged meetings with business and consumer groups, meetings between directors of the JFTC's regional offices and locally based experts, members of bar associations in various districts and the nation-wide federation of bar associations in FY2022. Moreover, the JFTC hosted “Consumer Seminars” to introduce an overview of the AMA and the JFTC’s activities to general consumers in cities without its headquarter or regional offices, in order to increase people’s awareness of the AMA and the related laws. The JFTC’s efforts also included activities for raising awareness of competition policy through school education. The JFTC dispatches its officials to junior high schools, high schools and universities (including graduate schools) and they introduce the roles of competition in economic activities to the students. The effort is called “Antimonopoly Act Class” or “Delivery Lecture.”
(Note) In addition to face-to-face meetings, the meetings were held using web conferencing formats.
Annual Report of the Japan Fair Trade Commission(April 2022-March 2023)(PDF:265.35KB)