Complying with competition law: A guide for businesses and trade associations

A competition law compliance programme is a way your business can strive to have the right measures in place and can form part of your company’s overall risk management and compliance measures. This booklet aims to help you stay on the right side of competition law by providing some useful information on setting up a compliance programme.

Competition benefits everyone. It encourages businesses to compete for customers. Purchasers of goods and services – whether individual shoppers or businesses – benefit from paying less for goods and services and having more choice and better quality goods and services. Competition results in open, dynamic markets featuring increased innovation, more choice and better value.

When consumers benefit from competition, the economy does too. For example, increased competition from more suppliers results in the price of electricity coming down for consumers and businesses, meaning the cost of doing business comes down. This helps Irish businesses to be more competitive at home and abroad, which in turn supports economic growth and ultimately helps job creation.

Where there is a lack of competition, for example where there is a price-fixing cartel or a business abusing its market power, both business and consumers suffer. The cost of doing business goes up.

All businesses must comply with competition law and it is important that you make sure your business stays on the right side of the law. Penalties for infringing competition law are severe and include fines of up €5 million or 10% of turnover, prison sentences of up to 10 years and disqualification from being a company director for five years. Therefore it makes sense to comply with the law.

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