Anti-competitive practices are business behaviors that jeopardize the normal functioning of a competitive market, harming consumers, other companies and society in general. These practices can take various forms, such as agreements between competitors to fix prices, limit production or share markets, abuses of a dominant position to exploit or exclude rivals, or decisions by associations of companies that influence or condition the actions of their members.
These practices have negative effects on the economy, as they reduce efficiency, innovation and growth.
According to a study by the European Commission, cartels increase prices by an average of 28%, causing annual damage to European consumers of around 20 billion euros.
In addition, anti-competitive practices reduce the quality and variety of products and services available on the market, limit consumer choice and prevent the entry of new operators who could bring more dynamism and innovation.
Fair competition is essential for a healthy market, as it encourages companies to compete on merit, offering better prices, quality and service to consumers. Fair competition also encourages companies to invest in research and development, improve their productivity and adapt to technological and social changes. Fair competition benefits not only consumers, but also companies that operate honestly and efficiently.
Companies must adopt ethical practices that are compatible with anti-monopoly legislation, respecting competition rules and avoiding behavior that could distort or distort the functioning of markets.
Companies should also be alert to signs of possible anti-competitive practices on the part of their competitors or business partners, and report them to the competent authorities.
In Portugal, the Competition Authority (AdC) is responsible for identifying, investigating and sanctioning these practices, imposing fines and precautionary measures when necessary. The PCA also has a Leniency Program that allows companies participating in a cartel to denounce it in exchange for a waiver or reduction of the fine.
Anti-competitive practices are an obstacle to the country’s economic and social development. It is the responsibility of all economic agents to contribute to a fair and healthy competitive environment that favors the well-being of consumers and the progress of companies.
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