Declaration and guidance on vertical agreements and concerted practices
Declaration in brief
In 2023 the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) issued a Declaration in Respect of Vertical Agreements and Concerted Practices (Declaration). The Declaration exempts certain categories of agreements and concerted practices from the prohibition set out in section 4 of the Competition Act 2002.
The CCPC also issued a Notice in Respect of Vertical Agreements and Concerted Practices in order to provide guidance to interested persons on how to assess their vertical agreements so as to ensure that they can avail themselves of the exemption provided for by the Declaration
Outline of declaration
In general the term “vertical agreement” means an agreement entered into between two or more firms, each of which operates at a different level of the production or distribution chain. The agreement further relates to the conditions under which these firms buy or sell certain goods or services.
The Competition Act 2002 permits the CCPC to declare in writing that a specified category of vertical agreements, decisions or concerted practices are not prohibited by Irish competition law. The aim of this Declaration is to provide useful guidance on vertical agreements for interested persons, and to ensure that firms can avail of the exemption provided for by the Declaration.
The CCPC may amend this Declaration from time to time. For example, the CCPC may exclude a particular category of goods or services where it considers that competition is significantly restricted by a large network of vertical restraints in a relevant market.
The Declaration is valid from 1 March 2023 until 31 December 2034.
To learn more on this topic please read:
- Guidelines on the application of Article 101(3) TFEU (formerly Article 81(3) TEC)
- EU Commission‘s Block Exemption Regulation (BER). The declaration closely resembles the EU Block Exemption Regulation.
- The EU Commission’s Guidelines on Vertical Restraints give practical assistance on assessing whether vertical agreements conflict with the BER. This may also be referred to for guidance in assessing whether an agreement is likely to be compliant with Irish competition law.