EU regulators may revise rules defining corporate market power


EU Commissioner for Europe Age Margrethe Vestager speaks at a press conference on a competition sector inquiry at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 9, 2021. John Thys / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) – European Union antitrust regulators could revamp decades-old rules covering corporate market power to account for cases such as when tech giants offer products for free at all costs. by collecting user data, or the impact of innovation agreements,

The European Commission comments on Monday followed comments from national antitrust authorities, experts and others during a 16-month consultation on the Commission’s rule known as the Opinion on the market definition.

The rule, which dates back to 1997, helps regulators measure a firm’s pricing power in a merger or its power to exclude competitors in an antitrust case. Regulators use this information to decide whether to seek concessions from the company.

In recent years, lawyers and academics have criticized EU antitrust laws for being out of step with the times, especially when it comes to merger deals and the market power of US tech giants.

Comments have shown that the current rule may be inadequate when it comes to small but lasting price increases, and in digital markets where products or services are offered for free, the competition authority said. ‘EU.

It is also not up to date in assessing geographic markets in an era of globalization and import competition, the use of quantitative techniques, the calculation of market shares and non-price competition such as ‘innovation.

“The assessment indicates that the opinion does not fully cover recent developments in market definition practices, including those related to the digitization of the economy,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement .

“We will now analyze whether and how the notice should be revised to resolve the issues we have identified,” she said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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