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Public consultations

Review of the competition rules applicable to vertical agreements

Policy field

Competition (antitrust)

Target group

The business community and their representatives as well as other organisations including industry associations and consumer interest associations, who have direct experience with the current regime for the assessment of vertical agreements.

Period of consultation

From 28.07.2009 to 28.09.2009

Objective of the request for stakeholder input

The current Block Exemption Regulation on vertical restraints expires in May 2010. When the currently applicable Regulation and its associated Guidelines were adopted ten years ago, the aim was to considerably reduce the regulatory burden on firms, in particular firms with no market power, like SMEs, and to introduce an effects-based approach to the assessment of vertical restraints. In the Commission's assessment, these objectives and concerns remain valid today.

Two major developments have marked the ten-year period following the adoption of the current rules: an increase in large distributors' market power and the evolution of sales on the Internet. The draft revised rules on which stakeholders are consulted have been adapted to take account of these two developments.

While the consultation obviously covers all of the issues dealt with by the Block Exemption Regulation and the Guidelines, the Commission seeks in particular comments on the overall functioning of the current rules and the extent that recent market developments should impact the scope of the review. The Commission is also inviting comments on the specific way that it is proposing to deal with the issue of buyers' market power and restrictions on online sales.

Consultation documents

Draft Commission Regulation on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices
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Draft Commission Notice - Guidelines on Vertical Restraints
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Press release IP/09/1197: Antitrust: Commission launches public consultation on review of competition rules for distribution sector

Reference documents

Current legislation applicable to vertical agreements

Contributions received

Individual contributions
  • Paulina Gomulak en
  • Arne Nordmeyer de
  • Daniela Walcher en
Public authorities
  • Autorité de la concurrence – France fr en
  • Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft, Familie und Jugend de
  • Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie und des Bundeskartellamtes de
  • Danish Competition Authority dk
  • Ministry of Employment and the Economy – Finland fi
  • Netherlands Competition Authority en
  • Représentation Permanente de la France auprès de l'Union Européenne fr
Registered organisations
  • A. B. Jacobs & Co en
  • Addleshaw Goddard LLP en
  • Allen & Overy LLP en
  • American Antitrust Institute en
  • American Bar Association – ABA en
  • American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union – AmCham EU en
  • AS Watson Europe en
  • Ashurst LLP en
  • Asociación Española para la Defensa de la Competencia – AEDC en es
  • Association des Avocats Pratiquant le Droit de la Concurrence – APDC fr
  • Association des Industries de Marque – AIM fr
  • Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers - ALMR en
  • Association Française des Entreprises Privées – AFEP en fr
  • Association Française d'Etude de la Concurrence – AFEC fr
  • Assonime en
  • Baker & McKenzie en
  • BP PIc en
  • Brand Equity Alliance en
  • British Beer & Pub Association - BBPA en
  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. - BDI de en
  • Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien – BITKOM de
  • Bundesverband Lederwaren und Kunststofferzeugnisse e.V. – BVLK de
  • Businesseurope en
  • CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale en
  • Centralvereinigung Deutscher Wirtschaftsverbände für Handelsvermittlung und Vertrieb E. V. – CDH de
  • Centrum für Europäische Politik – CEP de en
  • Chanel en
  • Charles River Associates en
  • Clifford Chance LLP en
  • CMS Hasche Sigle en
  • Comité COLBERT en
  • Competition Law Research Centre – Hungary en
  • Confcommercio International en
  • Confederation of British Industry – CBI en
  • Confederation of Finnish Industries – EK en
  • Confederazione Generale dell'Industria Italiana – Confindustria it
  • Conseil National des Professions de l'Automobile – CNPA fr
  • Consumer Focus en
  • Contrast, European & Business Law en
  • Covington & Burling LLP en
  • Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira en
  • Danish Brewers' Association dk
  • Danish Chamber of Commerce en
  • DANSKE – The Association of Danish Law Firms dk
  • Detailhandel Nederland – DN nl
  • Deutsche Vereinigung für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht e.V. - GRUR en
  • Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag e. V. de
  • DLA Piper UK LLP en
  • eBay EU Liaison Office en
  • EDEKA Zentrale de
  • EMOTA - European E-Commerce and Mail Oder Trade Association en
  • Estée Lauder Companies en
  • Estudio Jurídico EJASO, S. L. es
  • Euro Commerce en
  • European Advisory Group on Competition Policy – EAGCP en
  • European Association of Automotive Suppliers – CLEPA en
  • European Association of Chemical Distributors – FECC en
  • European Automobile Manufacturers Association – ACEA en
  • European Competition Lawyers Forum – ECLF en
  • European Cosmetics Association – COLIPA en
  • European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs – CECRA en fr
  • European Department Stores en
  • European Distribution Lawyers – EDL en
  • European Federation Association of Beer and Beverages Wholesales – CEGROBB en fr
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations – EFPIA en
  • European Franchise Federation – EFF en
  • European LPG Association – AEGPL en
  • European Petroleum Industry Association – EUROPIA en
  • European Retail Round Table – ERRT en
  • Eversheds LLP en
  • Fair Pint Campaign en
  • Fédération des enseignes du Commerce Associé – FCA fr
  • Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté – FEBEA fr
  • Fédération des Entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution – FCD fr
  • Fédération des Entreprises Internationales de la Mécanique et de l'Electronique – FICIME fr
  • Fédération des Industries Electriques, Electroniques et de Communication – FIEEC fr
  • Fédération Européenne des Parfumeurs Détaillants de
  • Fédération Française de la Parfumerie Sélective – FFPS fr
  • Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile – FIA en
  • Federation of Small Businesses – FSB en
  • Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH en
  • FEDERAUTO - Confédération belge du Commerce et de la Réparation automobiles et des Secteurs connexes asbl fr
  • FIAR Consumer Electronics en
  • FIDAL fr
  • Field Fisher Waterhouse en
  • Fondazione Altagamma en
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer en
  • German Insurance Association – GDV de en
  • Gesamtverband der deutschen Textil- und Modeindustrie e.V. de
  • Gorrissen Federspiel de
  • Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels – HDE de
  • Herbert Smith – Gleiss Lutz – Stibbe en
  • Hermès International Sca. en
  • HOTREC – Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe en
  • Howrey LLP en
  • Independent Family Brewers of Britain – IFBB en
  • Institut de Liaison et des Etudes de la Consommation – ILEC fr
  • Interactive Software Federation of Europe – ISFE en
  • International Chamber of Commerce – ICC en
  • International Distribution Institute – IDI en annex
  • International Union of Commercial Agents and Brokers – IUCAB en
  • Italian Association for Cosmetic Industries – UNIPRO en
  • Joint Working Party of the Bars and Law Societies of the UK on Competition Law – JWP en
  • Jones Day en
  • Kesko Corporation en
  • LAWIN en
  • Ligue Internationale du Droit de la Concurrence – LIDC en
  • Linklaters LLP en
  • L'Oréal fr
  • LVMH en
  • Markenverband e.V. en de
  • Mineralölwirtschaftsverband e.V. – MWV de
  • Monard-D'Hulst Gent-Kortrijk en
  • Mouvement des Entreprises de France – MEDEF fr
  • NCTM Studio Legale Associato en
  • Nederlandse Cosmetica Vereniging en
  • Net-A-Porter.Com en
  • Netherlands Consumer Association en
  • Norton Rose en
  • Norwegian Association of Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Suppliers – KLF en
  • O'Melveny & Myers LLP en
  • Panasonic Europe en
  • RBB Economics en
  • Royal Ahold en
  • Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AG – SZA de
  • Selfridges & Co en
  • SEV Hellenic Federation of Enterprises en
  • Simmons & Simmons en
  • SPAR Österreichische Warenhandels-AG de
  • Stanpa Asociación Nacional de Perfumería y Cosmética en annex
  • Steptoe & Johnson LLP en
  • Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht e.V. de
  • The Brewers of Europe en
  • The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association – NSK en
  • The Swatch Group Ltd en
  • THESIS fr
  • Union des Fabricants pour la Protection Internationale de la Propriété Intellectuelle –UNIFAB fr
  • Union des Groupements de Détaillants Indépendants de l'Europe a.i.s.b.l. – UGAL en
  • Union Européenne de l'Artisanat et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises - UEAPME en
  • Union of European Petroleum Independents – UPEI en
  • Vakcentrum nl
  • Van Bael & Bellis en
  • Vereniging van Albert Heijn Franchisenemers – VAHFR nl
  • VDMA European Office de
  • VNO- NCW Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers nl
  • Walpole en
  • WHICH ? en
  • White & Case LLP en
  • Wragge & Co LLP en
  • Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks – ZDH de
  • Zentralverband des TankstellenGewerbes e.V. - ZTG de
  • Zentralverband Deutsches Kraftfahrzeuggewerbe e.V. – ZDK de
  • Zentralverband Gewerblicher Verbundgruppen e.V. – ZGV de
  • Zveza potrošnikov Slovenije – ZPS sl

Results of consultation and next steps

On 20 April 2010 the Commission adopted a new Regulation and its accompanying guidelines. The New Regulation enters into force on 1 June 2010. Read a summary and frequently asked questions


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