Eu Competition Rules Vertical Agreements
The Commission`s services working paper is an important step in the EC`s review of the VBER and guidelines; it completes the evaluation phase and initiates the impact analysis phase during which the EC will take a closer look at the issues identified. A draft revised rules are expected to be published in public consultation in 2021 and the new rules will come into force on 31 May 2022 until the expiry of the existing ERV and existing guidelines. The current VBER expires on May 31, 2022. The VBER and vertical guidelines are part of the EU regulatory framework that governs so-called “vertical” agreements: they are concluded by companies at different levels of the supply chain and allow the parties to ensure a “path to the market” for goods and services. Vertical agreements are the cornerstone of EU marketing and procurement agreements and are one of the most common trade agreements that must comply with EU competition rules. As a result, the VBER and vertical guidelines have played a decisive role in making available to companies an automatic system for clearing vertical agreements, provided they fall below market share thresholds and meet other VBER conditions and guidelines or vertical guidelines. From the UK perspective, the UK`s current position is that the UK will continue to apply the VBER until it expires. After 31 May 2022, it will be interesting to see whether the UK adopts rules similar to those of the revised VBER or adopt a different approach. Vertical agreements are agreements between companies operating at different levels of the production or distribution chain. B an agreement between a producer and a distributor. Current EU rules require companies to assess for themselves the compliance of their vertical agreements with EU competition law, which prohibits competition-limiting agreements under Article 101, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The VBER exempts certain types of agreements from the article 101 ban, paragraph 1, where certain conditions are met, giving companies confidence that their agreement is in line with EU competition law. The report on support studies published by the Commission on 26 May 2020 confirms the results of the public consultation, as the current rules do not address sufficient issues related to online sales and online platforms.
The more than 700-page report also provides an overview of the likely direction of the VBER review and the Commission`s vertical directions. The VBER and its guidelines expire on May 31, 2022. The EC conducted a two-year evaluation to determine whether the VBER and guidelines should be completed, renewed or revised by gathering evidence from a variety of sources, including public consultation, targeted consultation with national competition authorities, a stakeholder workshop and an external evaluation study. The EC also gathered evidence from the results of its investigation into the imkund economy sector, launched in May 2015 and closed in May 2017. In addition, in recent years, the EC has gained knowledge through its own experience in implementing vertical restrictions. The European Commission (EC) recently confirmed that it will revise the current Category Exemption Regulation (VABER) and the EU Vertical Guidelines to ensure their usefulness in today`s digital world and in the future. Under the current VABER, vertical agreements (i.e. agreements between two or more companies operating at different levels of the production or distribution chain) are automatically excluded from competition law as long as they meet the conditions prescribed by VABER (and do not include so-called “hardcore” restrictions such as the fixing of the selling price (RPM) and territorial and customer restrictions that are inherently anti-competitive).