Netherlands competition law is laid down in the Netherlands Competition Act (Mededingingswet, ‘NCA’), which, in its substantive provisions, closely follows the EC competition law regime. Article 6 NCA contains a prohibition of restrictive agreements and concerted practices, is the national equivalent of Article 81(1) EC. Article 17 NCA provides for exemptions from that prohibition, leaving room for a direct application of the European Commission’s individual and group exemptions. A prohibition of the abuse of a dominant position similar to that of Article 82 EC is provided for in Article 24 NCA. Finally, Chapter 5 of the NCA contains a merger notification and control regime similar to that provided for in the EC Merger Regulation, with, of course, lower applicability thresholds. The case law of the EC Courts, the Commission’s decision practice and its interpretative notices therefore serve as important guidelines for the application of the NCA.
The NCA is enforced by the Netherlands Competition Authority (Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit, ‘NMa’). After the departure of Mr Anne Kist as its Director General on 31 December 2002, that body is now headed by Mr Pieter Kalbfleish, a former senior judge on the Hague District Court. Two sector-specific regulators have been incorporated in the institutional structure of the NMa, as so-called chambers: the Office for Energy Regulation (‘DTe’), which has powers to regulate prices and quality criteria pursuant to the Electricity Act and the Gas Act, and the Transport Supervisory Authority (Vervoerkamer), which supervises the compliance of public transport services with statutory standards.
This chapter will focus on the NMa’s activities in the year under review. After a short overview of the NMa’s output in the sectors it had targeted for this year (construction, healthcare, energy and
finance), we will review the highlights in restrictive agreements, abuses of dominant positions, merger control and procedural issues before looking ahead to 2004. The reports covers the period up to 15 September 2003.
Source: The European Antitrust Review 2004