Significant Market Power
The supervision of the compliance with the Act No. 395/2009 Coll., on the Significant Market Power in the Sale of Agricultural and Food Products and Abuse thereof (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) has fallen within the scope of competence of the Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as „the Office“)since 1 February 2010. On this date the Act issued on 9 September 2009 came into force. For the purpose of supervising the compliance with the Act the Department of the Control over Market Power was established within the Office.
Unit of the Control over Market Power
The Unit of Control over Market Power (“hereinafter referred to as “the Unit”) was established on 1 December 2010 and nowadays is a part of the Section of Legislation and Public Regulation of the Office. The scope of competence of the Unit is regulated by the Act. Regarding the procedural issues, the Unit´s activities are stipulated in the provisions of the Act No. 143/2001 Coll., on the Protection of Competition and its amendments and the Act No. 500/2004 Coll., Administrative Procedure Code and its amendments.
The Unit of Control Over Market Power emploees deal with the agenda falling within the Office´s competence pursuant to the Act. The agenda is focused on control of compliance with the Act, on conducting administrative proceedings (including issuing administrative decisions and imposing sanctions for breaching the law), conducting sector inquires, cooperation within the European Competition Network´s working group FOOD and on other activities, for example participation in conferences and seminars dedicated to the issue of sale of agricultural and food products to the end consumers.
The activities of the Department are based on its own findings gained from sector inquires, publicly available sources and external complaints submitted to the Office.
It should be stated that there is no prescribed form for filling the complaint. It is possible to submit the complaint in the form of written letter sent to the Office, by fax or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Each complaint shall be examined by the Office which ensures that no third party will have an access to the submitted information.
Amendment of the Act on Significant Market Power
In the course of preparatory work for the Amendment of the Act the Unit of Significant Market Power has used its extensive experience with application of this Act. Meetings with representatives of the Federation of the Food and Drink Industries of the Czech Republicand comparison of similar foreign legislative frameworks have also provided important source of valuable information for the groundwork of the amendment.
Based on the output of analysis of abovementioned sources, negotiations with the Office of the Government were initiated with the only objective – prepare the Act that could allow better and more efficient enforcement in cases where retailers abuse their significant market power in detriment of their suppliers.
In general, the effort aimed to make more comprehensible Act by removal of inconsistencies and unclear wording of some provisions, which would strengthen legal and factual certainty regarding limits of legal and illegal conduct. Another objective was to make the Act more easily applicable, introducing accurate terminology and setting specific competences of the Office that would make administrative proceedings faster.
After finalizing the draft amendment in the relevant legislative process and the following discussion in Parliament of the Czech Republic, the amendment of the Act was adopted in January 2016, published in the Collection of Law as the Act No. 50/2016 and became effective as of 6 March 2016.