Bulgarian Watchdog Empowered against 'Significant Market Power'

Business | June 19, 2012, Tuesday // 18:13|  views

Major chains of stores operating in Bulgaria have already condemned the proposed set of amendments as anti-competitive. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgarian companies will be monitored for and fined in cases of abuse of "significant market power," according to draft amendments to the Competition Protection Act.

The legal amendments envisage the introduction of the concept of "significant market power" and set fines in cases of abuse, according to a project published by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

The step will allow the Bulgarian anti-trust watchdog to penalize companies that do not have a dominant position on the respective market but still control sufficient financial and technological resources to unilaterally impose unfair trading conditions on their dependent suppliers or customers.

The amendments are the result of repeated complaints on the part of Bulgarian producers that major chains of stores keep pressuring them for discounts and ask them to pay a range of feels, thereby substantially decreasing their chances of making profit.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism believes that the legal changes will help eliminate the unfair practices.

In order for this to happen, the KZK will have to propose a mechanism for estimating whether companies wield "significant market power".

The methodology is to be developed in partnership with the business sector and is to be publicly discussed before it gets adopted.

Cases of companies wielding "significant market power" will be identified on a tip-off or on KZK's self-referral and the anti-trust authority will have two months to come up with a final decision.

The competition watchdog will have the power to fine companies breaching the "significant market power" norm and to issue problem solving instruction instructions.

Chains of stores have already risen against the draft bill, saying that the introduction of such legislation would obstruct free competition and would injure the interests of end-consumers.

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Tags: Competition Protection Act, Commission for Protection of Competition, KZK, anti-trust, producers, unfair competition


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