Swedish Competition Authority publishes proposals to promote competition in Sweden

23 January 2009

Henrik Nilsson

The Swedish Competition Authority (“KKV”) published a report on 17 November 2008 as an initial response to a Government request of 7 August 2008 to formulate proposals on how to promote competition on the Swedish market. In examining competition in Sweden, the Competition Authority has consulted over 600 stakeholders. Several independent experts have also been retained to help produce the material on which future reports will be based. The Competition Authority will deliver its final report by 31 March 2009. A further interim report is scheduled before then.

There are over thirty proposals dealing with four specific areas.  The KKV admits that several of the proposals put forward have been suggested before but maintains these ideas continue to be valid. 

The first is barriers to market entry, where the report deals with such matters as import barriers, the difficulty of starting a business or developing new goods and services, and the phasing out of monopolies. Many market sectors in Sweden are characterised by the dominance by a small number of companies.  KKV proposals focused on retail pharmacy services, electricity provision, access to rail track and to airport slots.

The second area is competitive distortion, e.g. in the form of public subsidies or when public bodies operate in competitive markets.  The KKV report singles out restrictions on the sale of Public Sector Information and medical care for livestock and other animals, and the extensive public subsidies for print media such as newspapers.

The third area is customer mobility, concerning difficulties in switching suppliers or providers, technical/technological barriers and lack of information. The KKV report covers barriers to mobility in pharmaceuticals, healthcare and the care of the elderly, banking and provision of electricity.

The fourth area concerns regulations and supervision. These include public policy instruments, special regulations of various kinds, consumer law, competition rules and procurement rules.  Proposals here include amending regulations on public procurement, electricity and natural gas distribution, and regulations on allocation of radio spectrum.