Competition Law in Belgium
Competition Law in BelgiumUpdated on Monday 09th May 2016
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The Competition Act in Belgium
The competition law in Belgium is the most important legislative document that governs the implementation of anti-competitive practices and the procedures associated with combating such issues. The provisions of this act are important for foreign investors in Belgium who choose the country for its many qualities but also for its favorable economic and regulatory regime.
The Belgian Competition Authority is the agency responsible for promoting a sustainable competition environment in Belgium by correctly and consistently implementing the provisions of the law. The representatives at our Belgian law firm can help you observe the most important practices aimed at reducing unlawful competition.
Anti-competitive practices in Belgium
All decisions or agreements between parties that have the aim or consequence of preventing, restricting or distorting significant competition in Belgium are prohibited. The law specifically refers to any actions that:
- directly or indirectly link to fixing the purchase or selling prices;
- those that limit or control production, markets, technical development or investments in Belgium;
- offer unequal conditions for equivalent services provided by business partners;
- demand that other parties engage in agreements that require additional services which have no commercial use or connection to the subject of the initial agreement.
The law also regulates the manner in which one party can accuse another of infringement and connected activities. The procedure for infringement cases in Belgium is solved in a two-step process: a formal investigation performed by the College of Competition Auditors which presents its findings in a report forwarded to the Competition Council. This investigative phase is followed by the decision process and its length remains at the latitude of the Competition Council. During this phase the defendant (the party accused of infringement) can file a defense brief.
The enforcement of the competition law in Belgium
The competition law is enforced by an autonomous service with legal personality, the Belgian Competition Authority. This legal structure is responsible for the application of relevant EU laws regarding competition rules. The Competition College in Belgium acts as a decision making authority.
In unlawful competition law cases appeals before the Court of Appeal of Brussels are possible. Should you require any legal representation in litigation cases you can contact our Belgian law firm.