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Abuse of Dominance and Monopolisation

Resumé

The competition laws of many OECD countries contain a concept of single firm exploitation of market power or use of improper means of attaining or retaining market power. Some laws also contain the concept of “joint dominance”, distinct from multiple firms acting pursuant to an agreement. Topics covered include how observed conduct, notably exclusionary conduct, interacts with finding whether a firm has a dominant position

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The Essential Facilities Concept

Resumé

An essential facilities doctrine specifies when the owner(s) of an “essential” or “bottleneck” facility must provide access to that facility, at a reasonable price. For example, it might specify when a railroad must be made available on reasonable terms to a rival rail company or an electricity transmission grid to a rival electricity generator. Topics covered include the access regime, interoperability (that different systems, products, and services work together transparently), standards, the importance of market definition in defining an essential facility, single versus joint ownership of an essential facility, legitimate reasons to deny access and possible remedies. There is an important distinction among public, private but regulated, and private unregulated facilities because mandatory access can diminish private incentives to invest and to innovate. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on the essential facilities concept which was held by Working Party No. 2 of the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in February 1996. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This is the fifth compilation published in a new OECD series named “Roundtables on Competition Policy”

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The Reform of International Satellite Organisations

Resumé

Since the creation of international satellite organisations (ISOs), technology and institutions have changed. Fibre optic cable has greatly in creased connectivity. Satellites and ground stations have become more efficient. Private satellite systems have emerged. The almost uniform landscape of monopoly domestic public telecommunications operators (PTOs) has been transformed in many countries with the addition of corporatised PTOs and, in some countries, private competitive operators. As the environment for which ISOs were designed has changed, policymakers need to review the appropriateness of their status and structure. The purpose of this roundtable was to discuss alternative, pro-competitive structures of the international satellite organisations. ISOs have extensive effects on competition in domestic telecommunications and broadcast markets. The roundtable was a timely opportunity for competition authorities to come up with positions to influence the governments and representatives at the ISOs. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on the Reform of International Satellite Organisations which was held by Working Party No. 2 of the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in November 1995. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This is the seventh compilation published in an OECD series named "Roundtables on Competition Policy".

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Competition in Telecommunications

Resumé

In 1996, at the time of the roundtable, an unprecedented wave of deregulation and liberalisation had started in the telecommunications sector. Participants discussed institutional aspects of antitrust and regulation in the sector. One issue was whether competition authorities should be responsible for injecting competition or whether telecommunications regulators should take the lead. They also discussed how to address structural constraints due to natural monopoly in some parts of the market and how to ensure performance of universal service obligations by newly privatized former monopolists. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on Competition in Telecommunications which was held by Working Party No. 2 of the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in November 1995. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This is the sixth compilation published in a new OECD series named "Roundtables on Competition Policy".

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Competition Policy and Efficiency Claims in Horizontal Agreements

Resumé

Efficiency claims play a key role in the analysis of mergers and horizontal agreements. Static efficiencies, associated with the production and distribution of existing products, are most often considered relevant. Dynamic efficiencies, of improved processes and products, are also important, but they are inherently more difficult to estimate. Efficiencies tend to play a larger role in analysis of horizontal agreements than in analysis of mergers. There are significant differences across countries in how efficiencies are factored into merger analysis, but there are also broad similarities. Most agencies do not reach consideration of efficiencies unless it is clear that a merger will tend to have anti-competitive effects. In such a case, the parties usually have a significant responsibility to establish that the merger should nevertheless be approved because it promises to yield significant efficiencies that cannot be obtained in less anti-competitive ways. Some countries apply a “consumer surplus” standard. Others apply a “total surplus” standard, which would approve a merger if the real resource savings will cause producers to gain more from the merger than consumers will lose from it. Because competition authorities face an inherent informational disadvantage, efficiency claims and supporting evidence must be assessed with caution. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on Efficiency Claims in Mergers and Other Horizontal Co-operation Agreements which was held by the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in November 1995. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This compilation is one of several published in a series named "Competition Policy Roundtables."

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Failling Firm Defence

Resumé

The perilous financial condition of a merging firm may change the analysis by a competition authority of an otherwise anticompetitive merger. The authority should assess not only what will happen if the merger is permitted, but also what will happen if it is blocked. Several questions arise when an anticompetitive merger involves a failing business: i) what constitutes adequate evidence that a firm is actually failing

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General Cartel Bans Criteria for Exemption for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Resumé

The Roundtable debated conditions for exempting horizontal co-operation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from general prohibitions against cartels. In a number of countries, either a legal provision exempts agreements between SMEs or such agreements are allowed under a de minimis clause. Country contributions and the discussion showed a diversity in the definition of an SME or of the threshold of de minimis or exemption, in the kinds of agreements which could be exempted and in the sectors where exemptions are found. One rationale offered for exempting agreements among SMEs is administrative, to lighten the burden on antitrust authorities. Another is economic, to achieve benefits in terms of efficiency or competition. And another is political, where the exemption results from lobbying by special interest groups. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on General Cartel Bans: Criteria for Exemption for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises which was held by the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in April 1996. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This compilation is one of several published in a series named “Competition Policy Roundtables”.

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Judicial Enforcement of Competition Law

Resumé

The judiciary has a central role in the implementation of competition policy. Competition laws are written broadly, and judicial precedent is important in interpreting these statutes, even in non-common law countries. Legal systems vary significantly between Member countries, so specific conclusions about the role of the judiciary in competition enforcement are difficult to articulate. The seminar promoted better understanding of the competition laws of Member countries and of the means for implementing them, thus ultimately promoting international convergence of competition policy. Judges, experts and competition authorities discussed the responsibility of the judiciary in the implementation of competition policy, the role of economics and economists, and accommodation of multiple criteria, standards of proof and judicial review in competition cases. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a Seminar on Judicial Enforcement of Competition Law which was held by the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in October 1996. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience.

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Competition Policy and Environment

Resumé

The analytical note reviews modes of environmental regulation and identifies some anticompetitive effects that can accompany them. Such regulations might be used to gain a competitive advantage. A common principle of the different modes of intervention, whether by government through direct regulation and economic instruments, by industry or by a combination of government and industry is that the polluter pays, so that producers and consumers bear the full social cost of their actions. When production has harmful effects on the environment, those effects must be reflected in costs, so the pricing mechanism can perform its role as an indicator. This principle is consistent with competition policy to the extent that it remedies a market failure, internalising the pollution externality. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a roundtable on Competition Policy and the Environment which was held by the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in May 1995. It is published as a general distribution document under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD to bring information on this topic to the attention of a wider audience. This compilation is among the first one which will be published in a new OECD series named "Competition Policy Roundtables".

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Competition Policy and Film Distribution

Resumé

Competition in film distribution, which has long been a concern, is now affected by the development of alternative methods of film distribution through television and video. Competition analysis of film distribution must examine: i) the relevant market definition, including substitutability between “first run” and other films and between different distribution media, including cinema, television and video

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