Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Sector inquiry

According to Article 17 of Council Regulation (EC) 1/2003, the Commission may conduct general inquiries into a particular sector of the economy or a particular type of agreements across various sectors where a trend of trade between EU Member States, price rigidity or other circumstances suggest that competition may be restricted or distorted within the Common Market.

In the course of that inquiry, the Commission may request the undertakings or associations of undertakings concerned to supply the information necessary for giving effect to Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty and may carry out any inspections necessary for that purpose.

The Commission may in particular request the undertakings or associations of undertakings concerned to communicate to it all agreements, decisions and concerted practices.

The Commission may publish a report on the results of its inquiry into particular sectors of the economy or particular types of agreements across various sectors and invite comments from interested parties.

© European Commission

The Commission uses the information obtained in an inquiry to understand a particular market better from the point of view of competition policy. If it finds grounds for doing so, the Commission may – at a later stage – assess whether it needs to open specific investigations to ensure the respect of EU rules on restrictive agreements and abuse of dominant position.

The results of sector inquires carried out by the Commission are published in a report and interested parties are invited to submit their comments.

© European Commission

The European Competition Network (hereinafter referred to as the “ECN”) members have agreed on the sector inquiry definition. According to this definition, sector inquiry means an inquiry into a particular sector of the economy or into a particular type of agreements across various sectors conducted by an ECN member, who suspects that there are indications of market distortions which cannot be assigned to specific undertakings.

© OECD

Glossary