Netherlands: ACM gives insight into enforcement strategy with regard to vertical agreements (in e-commerce sector)

08 June 2015

Gerlof Bierma

On 20 April 2015, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets ("ACM") published a policy document on its strategy and priorities regarding the enforcement of competition law with respect to vertical agreements.

ACM's most recent policy document is inspired by the growing interest for vertical agreements in the e-commerce context and could be considered as a national contribution to Europe's agenda for creating a Digital Single Market. The publication aims to give market participants more insight into ACM's enforcement policy, thereby allowing businesses to critically self-assess the vertical agreements they enter into or impose.

ACM emphasises in this document that the effect on consumer welfare is important when setting enforcement priorities. Following indications or complaints concerning possible anti-competitive practices, ACM will make a so-called 'initial assessment' of the vertical agreement. The following circumstances will be taken into account:

  1. degree of market power;
  2. whether the agreement is applied throughout the market;
  3. degree of buyer power; and
  4. possible efficiency benefits.

As a result, businesses are now provided with a basic legal frame of reference. From a legal professional perspective however, the document does not offer much as this boils down to the general rules of the enforcement priorities of ACM.

Source: www.acm.nl, published 20 April 2015

Reproduced from Practical Law with the permission of the publishers (www.practicallaw.com).

Authors

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Gerlof Bierma

Associate
Netherlands

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