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Competition Law in Romania

What’s the legislation that regulates the competition rules in Romania and who can be subject to it?

The competition rules are set out by Law no. 21/1996 known as the Competition Law that was republished and modified with the purpose of being brought to order with the European competition legislation.

The provisions of Law no. 21/1996 apply to acts and deeds that restrict, prevent or distort competition, committed by:

a) enterprises or associations of enterprises - natural or legal persons – of Romanian or foreign citizenship/nationality;

b) authorities and central or local government institutions, to the extent that they intervene in market operations through the decisions issued or the regulations adopted,  directly or indirectly influencing the competition, except for the situations when such measures are taken to enforce other laws or to defend the public interest.

What are the acts prohibited by the Competition Law?

The Competition Law prohibits: the anti-competitive practices, the cartel, the abuse of dominant position, economic concentrations which create or strengthen a dominant position, any actions of the central or local government bodies, which have or may have as their object or effect the restriction, prevention or distortion of the competition, in particular by: making decisions that limit the freedom of trade and economic autonomy and establishing discriminatory conditions for the activity of the economic operators.

The anti-competitive practices refer to all the agreements between enterprises, the decisions of associations of enterprises and concerted practices which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of the competition on the Romanian market or on a part of the Romanian market, in particular those which:

a) set, directly or indirectly, purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

b) limit or control production, markets, technical development or investments;

c) share markets or sources of supply;

d) apply, in relations with trading partners, dissimilar conditions to

equivalent performances, thus causing some of them a competitive disadvantage;

e) condition the conclusion of contracts to the acceptance of the partners of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, are unrelated to the subject of such contracts;

f) consist of the participation with rigged bids in auctions or any other forms of competitive tendering;

g) cut out other competitors out of the market, restrict or impede the market access and the freedom to exercise the competition by other enterprises, as well as the agreements not to buy from or sell to certain enterprises without reasonable justification.

Cartels are secret agreements concluded between competitors, which have the object of fixing prices, limiting production, market sharing, allocation of customers or territories etc.

The most common forms of abuse of dominant position are: the imposition of the sales price, tariffs, refusing to deal with certain economic agents, limiting production etc.

In the concept of economic concentration we include the following categories of operations: mergers, acquisitions and the creation of concentrative joint venture.

If I own a company in a different country and have a subsidiary in Romania, does this law protect me and apply to me?

Yes, the provisions of this law apply to acts and deeds committed on the territory of Romania and committed outside of the territory of country, when the effects are produced in Romania. It would thus apply to you as well.

Who is the competent authority on the matter and how do I proceed if I know of an acts prohibited by the Competition Law?

The implementation of this law is entrusted to the Competition Council, as a national authority, competent in the competition area.

Any natural and legal persons affected by the commission of an anti-competitive practice may refer a complaint to the Competition Council.

Complaints lodged by a natural or legal person must contain all information and documents requested in the complaint form. Natural and legal persons must provide copies of relevant documents to support the complaint, documents that are reasonably available, and, where possible, to indicate where the Competition Council can obtain information and documents relevant to the case that are not available to the applicants.

Only natural or legal persons who can demonstrate a legitimate interest are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Competition Council.

The Competition Council is entitled, without prejudice to its right to initiate an investigation on its own initiative, not to pursue the complaint of a natural or legal person who can’t demonstrate a legitimate interest.

Our lawyers offer professional legal guidance before all the relevant authorities. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm for more information related to whichever problem you may face on the matter.

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