Bulgaria MPs Amend Competition Legislation to Tighten Oversight of Retail ChainsBusiness | April 30, 2015, Thursday // 11:16| views
Photo by BGNES
Competition Protection Act amendments concerning retail chains have passed first reading in Parliament.
The bill submitted by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was approved without a single statement by MPs for or against it.
The set of legal amendments, aimed at tightening control over retailers and ensuring better protection of domestic producers, was backed by 95 MPs, with 2 votes against and 41 abstentions.
The bill was backed by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), the Patriotic Front, the Bulgarian Democratic Center, and the Ataka party.
19 MPs from GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) also backed it, as well as 3 MPs from the Reformist Bloc, while the other MPs from the ruling coalition mostly abstained from voting.
The legal changes were adopted at first and second reading by the 42nd National Assembly, after which they were vetoed by President Rosen Plevneliev and referred back to the parliamentary committees for further consideration and revision.
As the 42nd National Assembly was dissolved ahead of schedule, the bill was not adopted.
According to Kornelia Ninova from BSP, the bill seeks to support producers of Bulgarian goods.
The legislative changes are expected to guarantee fair competition and equal terms for Bulgarian producers and retailers, the initiators say, as cited by the BGNES news agency.
Ninova assured MPs on Thursday that BSP had carefully studied European practices in the sphere.
She was adamant that the new provisions were not a restriction to free market negotiations.
She said that the legislation was aimed at curbing the practice of retail chains of imposing a range of unfair fees on producers.
MPs have one week to come up with proposals related to the bill before it enters the parliamentary committee on economic policy for a second-reading vote.
The bill requires retailers with a turnover of over BGN 50 M for the previous year to submit their draft model contracts or the general provisions applicable to their suppliers for evaluation by the Commission for Protection of Competition, according to the Bulgarian National Radio.
The bill proposes the introduction of the concept of significant market power to identify companies which do not have a dominant position and yet may obstruct competition due to their market share and the dependence of suppliers on them.
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