New powers for UOKiK – For real, or for show ?
It is a truism that, if the antitrust authority is to be effective, it must have at its disposal appropriate powers as well as funds enabling performance of its statutory duties. Year in, year out, the Polish antitrust authority is expected to go farther, and to do more, in terms of safeguarding competition and consumer interests. Which is a good thing in and of itself – what with the ever-changing business environment, proliferation of new technologies on the one hand and growing pressure to turn a profit and deteriorating business ethics on the other, less powerful enterprises and consumers are often left at a loss. But are these rising expectations matched with sufficient funds ? I, for one, doubt it.
The glory of it – Increasing powers of UOKiK
The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Its original remit was to safeguard competition – in practice, this meant first and foremost keeping an eye on the market monopolists of the time, such as Telekomunikacja Polska or Petrochemia Płock, and signing off on corporate mergers. As the Polish market economy took root, the structure of the market began changing – more and more often, UOKiK found itself dealing with enterprises resorting to collusion (price fixing, carving up their markets) in order to make their way in an increasingly difficult reality.
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