Introduction to Competition Policy

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Competition puts businesses under constant pressure to offer the best possible range of goods at the best possible prices, because if they don't, consumers have the choice to buy elsewhere. In a free market, business should be a competitive game with consumers as the beneficiaries.

Sometimes companies try to limit competition. To preserve well-functioning product markets, authorities must prevent or correct anti-competitive behaviour. To achieve this, they often monitor:

agreements between companies that restrict competition – cartels or other unfair arrangements in which companies agree to avoid competing with each other and try to set their own rules

abuse of a dominant position – where a major player tries to squeeze competitors out of the market

mergers (and other formal agreements whereby companies join forces permanently or temporarily) – legitimate provided they expand markets and benefit consumers

Competition authorities establish the rules by which the market works, allowing for markets to provide cheaper, higher quality goods and services to consumers. Within any sector, the development of a real market economy depends on the widespread acceptance and enforcement of competition rules.

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Latest Activity

Competition Week 15

The 15th EU-China Competition Week took place in Beijing and Xiamen from 16-20 October 2017.  Discussions were held on topical issues identified with the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Enforcement Agencies (AMEAs). This included the reviewing mergers in the agro-chemicals sector, including a discussion of a recent merger in the industry reviewed by both the EU and China, as well as a discussion of merger review of joint ventures and the prosecution of the procedural infringements. There were discussions on how to use indirect evidence to prosecute cartels, the analysis of vertical restraints and the use of block exemptions and guidelines for vertical agreements. Another session considered the policy and enforcement approaches to the competition issues arising from Big Data and the digital economy. In addition, there was a discussion on developments in the implementation of the Fair Competition Review Mechanism and recent developments in the application of EU State aid control, both of which feed into the dialogue on State aid control under the recent MOU between DG COMP and the NDRC.