Bulgaria to Introduce ‘Substantial Market Power’ in Competition Act

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Socialist MP Kornelia Ninova announced that the concept of “substantial market power” would be introduced in Bulgaria’s Competition Protection Act.

In a Thursday interview for bTV, Ninova explained that the Commission for Protection of Competition had been given 3 months to prepare the methodology and identify companies possessing substantial market power.

Yordan Mateev from the Modern Retail Association insisted that the concept was unclear and was not part of EU practices, adding that it was applied in several countries which were facing sanctions.

He suggested that Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition had too much power and it was becoming a body of the legislature which would be tasked with compiling blacklists of companies.

“It is absurd to apply such fines in a sector whose share is the smallest in the EU” Mateev added, as cited by Sega daily.

He also explained that the bill aimed at improving competition between hypermarkets and suppliers, had been drafted without the participation of retail chains and was harmful to them.

Ninova argued that the new provisions had been discussed with the interested parties.

Ninova and Mateev also disagreed on the matter of the impact of the amendments to the Competition Protection Act on prices at retail chains.

Mateev claimed that the legal changes would cause prices at retailers to increase, while Ninova insisted that the abolition of a number of fees imposed on small producers by big companies would cause prices at retail chains to drop.

Mateev cautioned that state intervention in price formation could bring damages for traders, producers and consumers.

According to unconfirmed reports of Trud daily, the set of amendments to the Competition Protection Act drafted by ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is to enter Parliament by the end of the week.

Citing reports of sources close to the matter, Trud daily informs that the legal changes will require retail chains to publish contracts with suppliers online.

The new provisions are also to ban contract clauses banning suppliers from supplying goods to rival retailers.

The new regulations are also reported to restrict retailers’ opportunities of imposing additional fees on suppliers.

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