Brussels, 13 July 2023 – AIM takes note of the European Commission’s decision to close its investigations into certain specific issues relating to some international retail alliances. The Commission’s decision makes it clear that international retail alliances can “enable collusion and restrictions of competition, leading to increased prices or reduced supply”.
Although the Commission concluded that there were “insufficient grounds to further pursue the investigations”, AIM notes that this decision does not prejudge the likelihood that some retail alliances may ultimately be found to have distorted competition and/or engaged in abusive and unfair practices. National Competition Authorities across the EU have documented over and over again the anti-competitive impacts of retail alliances, including France’s Autorité de la concurrence which concluded in December 2021 that joint purchasing by Carrefour and Tesco negatively impacted competition by presenting unfavourable terms to suppliers, especially SMEs.
We therefore call on the Commission to remain vigilant, monitor international retail alliances, and rigorously implement the Horizontal Guidelines to ensure fair competition for all actors in the retail supply chain. This is more important than ever given the increasing concentration and vertical integration of Europe’s retail industry, as Andreas Mundt, President of the German Federal Cartel Office, has rightly pointed out earlier this week.
For further information, please contact: Laurent Cenatiempo
Tel: +32 2 736 03 05 • Email: Laurent.Cenatiempo@aim.be
AIM (Association des Industries de Marque) is the European Brands Association, which represents manufacturers of branded consumer goods in Europe on key issues that affect their ability to design, distribute and market their brands. AIM’s membership comprises 2500 businesses ranging from SMEs to multinationals, directly or indirectly through its corporate and national association members.
More information: www.aim.be