Restrictive competition practices
The restrictive competition practices are those that limit or impede free competition between the agents of a market.
Restrictive competition practices are very damaging to the economic development of a country as they eliminate efficient companies, reduce innovation and exploit consumers. In the vast majority of countries in the world, governments have antitrust laws that identify and sanction any practice that seeks to limit competition in an unjustified manner.
In the vast majority of countries, the Competition Agency is the body in charge of investigating and prosecuting companies that carry out conduct that may limit competition. Generally, companies are investigated and it is necessary for the agency to present evidence about the infringement. Companies, for their part, can present counter evidence that allows them to defend themselves against the accusation.
Anti-competitive practices in Spain
In the case of Spain, Law 15/2007 defines which practices are considered restrictive of competition and which are therefore prohibited. Below we describe the main anti-competitive practices established by the Law:
- Collusive conduct: any agreement or concerted practice between competitors that aims to limit competition is prohibited. Thus, for example, it is forbidden for competitors to set prices together, limit the quantity produced, share the market or customers, etc.
- Abuse of dominant position: it is prohibited for companies that enjoy a dominant position to abuse it. Thus, for example, the unjustified refusal of sale, the imposition of unjustified contractual conditions or the limitation of production, among others, is prohibited.
- Falsification of competition due to unfair acts: it is prohibited to carry out unfair competition behavior. There is a specific regulation for these behaviors.
It should also be mentioned that the law empowers the competition authorities to investigate and prohibit mergers or acquisitions that could put free competition in the market at risk.
The Spanish Competition Agency is the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC).
Spanish competition law considers the possibility that in some cases, conduct that is restrictive to competition may be exempted. Thus, for example, when the conduct results from the application of a Law.
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