Fabian Demicoli

Competition Law – How does it affect you?


MCCAA Chairman
Marcel Pizzuto opened and  chaired the
Seminar while  a number of competition law
experts covered various substantive and procedural issues. The
harmful effect of cartels on consumer welfare, the consequences on cartelists
and the remedies for victims of cartels were explained in detail in a
presentation delivered by Sylvann Aquilina Zahra, Director General of the
Office for Competition.

Stefan
Vella and Marice Grech  provided an
overview on the concepts of dominance and abuse from a legal and economic
perspective. Their presentation focused on how the Office proceeds on alleged
abuse of dominance cases. They also explained how the definition of the market
and the competition assessment are undertaken.

Their
presentation also delved into examples of types of abuse and how these are
investigated.

In most
European jurisdictions, it is mandatory for certain transactions occurring in
Malta to be notified to the Office for Competition before they can go through.
The seminar also provided a brief overview of when, how and why companies may
be affected by the Control of Concentrations 
Regulations. Lisa Abela and Ms Grech discussed the national approach to
the Merger and Acquisition Regulations.

The
procedures before the Office were also discussed.  Dr Aquilina Zahra and Dr Abela explained
priority setting by the Office for Competition and the rights and obligations
of complainants.

Aloysius
Bianchi focused on the powers of the Office for Competition to investigate
effectively suspected competition law infringements, the outcome of the
investigation stage and when the Office can adopt infringement or commitment
decisions.

He also
explained the main features of the draft regulations concerning immunity from
fines and reduction of fines in cartel investigations.

Practical
issues relating to the application of competition law and anti-trust investigations
carried out by the Office for Competition were raised by Paul Micallef Grimaud.

Various
questions from the floor were raised most of which were addressed  and handled by the competition experts.

The
seminar was organised as part of an information campaign aimed at creating
greater awareness about the responsibilities of the MCCAA and the rights and
obligations of consumers and traders.

In her
closing speech Hon Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer
Protection and Civil Liberties referred to Competition as a driving force of a
market economy since it is that mechanism which instigates undertakings to
offer goods and services at the most competitive, and therefore favourable,
terms and conditions. Competition she said also encourages companies and all
economic operators to be efficient and to come up with more innovative products
and services. For the individual consumer, competition ensures lower prices,
better quality and wider choice. For the economy as a whole, competition boosts
and supports economic growth. Hon Dalli also emphasised on the importance of
competition law and an effective competition law enforcement policy to protect
competition so as to safeguard our economy and consumer welfare.

Anyone
wishing to have further information 
kindly contact The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority
(MCCAA) on tel: 2395 2000 – web: www.mccaa.org.mt

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