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Competition Law in the Netherlands

Competition Law in the Netherlands

The Dutch Competition Act

The Competition Law in the Netherlands is based on the Dutch Competition Act that observes the relevant European policies and directives regarding economic competition. These regulatory documents contain provisions for the avoidance of cartels, illegal undertakings of a dominant position or the abuse of power and the unlawful use of state aid.

The implementation of the Competition Act is important for a good economic practice and for improving the progress of the country. This legal framework is also important for foreign companies in the Netherlands, as any entrepreneur wants to have access to a market that grants the same opportunities for all of the investors.

Dominant Positions

The abuse of a dominant position in the market is strictly prohibited for any Dutch company. Abuse is defined as one or more actions such as:

  • imposing unfair prices or creating unfair trading conditions;
  • limiting production or technical development;
  • using different conditions for similar transactions with other parties;

Anti-competitive agreements in the Netherlands

Dutch companies are prohibited from concluding anti-competitive agreements. These documents would hinder or distort competition on the Dutch market. Companies cannot force another party to conclude a contract by agreeing to certain terms that are deemed irrelevant for the respective business relationship. All agreements that are considered anti-competitive are declared null and void.

Financial transparency is also an important factor. Companies are required to keep administrative records, record their income and expenditure and observe the general accounting principles.

Officials belonging to the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets are responsible for conducting relevant investigations in order to guarantee that no anti-competition practices are in place. Administrative fines, penalty payments and binding instructions can be imposed for the violation of the Competition Law. Parties that refuse to cooperate with the officials from the Authority for Consumers and Markets can receive a fine.

For detailed information on how the Competition Law applies to your business, you can contact our law firm in the Netherlands.