Unfinished business: The new approach to assessing vertical restraints
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The new approach to assessing the competitive effects of vertical agreements is to be welcomed. For too long, European competition law on vertical restraints has been dominated by the “block-exemption dependency culture” that has stifled discussion about economic effects and cut down the number of reasoned decisions the Commission has been forced to issue.
There is however a long way to go before a fully coherent policy on vertical agreements is developed, and this paper has highlighted some areas where the current views on the application of the new approach are either misconceived or incomplete. In particular, there remains a danger that the number of decisions will be stifled by excessive reliance on market share tests. Under the new regime, there should be a strong onus on the Commission and national competition authorities both to develop and extend the economic thinking contained in its Guidelines and to produce reasoned decisions that set out what agreements will be viewed as acceptable and those which will not.
KeywordsMarket Share Competition Authority Relevant Market Market Definition Dominant Firm
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