TRENDS : EFFECT ON COMMERCE BETWEEN MEMBER STATES - NOTION - RESTRICTIVE DEFINITION - EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S GUIDELINES - CRITERION OF MARKET SHARE - ANTITRUST

Effect on trade between Member States and anticompetitive practices: A current issue

The papers gathered in this section provide various points of views on the notion of effect on commerce between member States in EU law, with some US point of view. Professor David Bosco in a brief introduction focuses on the evolution of the notion. According to Irene Luc, Chief legal officer of the French Competition Authority and author of the second contribution, several recent cases decided by French Courts implement a restrictive definition of the concept of substantial effect according to the European Commission’s Guidelines. Such a case law does not rely on EU caselaw but seems to be stemming from a strict reading of the EU Guidelines. French Courts, in these recent cases, favored the criterion of “aggregate market share of the parties on any relevant market within the Community affected by the agreement” to the detriment of the criterion based size of the concerned undertakings. Yet, there is no particular reason to favor the first criterion over the latter. As a consequence, French Courts exclude the applicability of EC law to anticompetitive conducts that only affect a portion of the Member State’s territory, i.e. French overseas territories. Still, certain cases of anticompetitive practices, taking place in ports and airports, affecting French overseas territories or substantial parts of the Common Market have an unquestionable appreciable effect on trade between member States, pertaining to the senses given to the term by the EC’s guidelines, when they involve European or even worldwide-scale companies. According to Philipe Rinzacaux, author of the third contribution and lawyer at the Paris Bar, the submission of anticompetitive practices to UE law results in important material and procedural consequences for national antitrust authorities and courts. The EU law applicability can be difficult to prove when the practices have an effect on trade between member States. This issue has been illustrated by recent French Courts decisions concerning practices taking place in small parts of the national territory, the French overseas departments. According to these decisions, the dimension of the undertakings concerned and the localization of their activity and head office are useful criteria to prove the existence of an effect on trade between member States. However , in order to ascertain the appreciability of this effect, the volume of sales affected must be compared to the overall volume of sales of the products concerned inside the relevant member State. The fourth contribution, written by Pascal Cardonnel of the Court of Justice of the European Union, is dedicated to the concept of commerce interstate appreciability and its various interpretations. Finally the last contribution by Jean-Christophe Roda, Lecturer at the University Paul Cézanne at Aix Marseille, is devoted to the notion of "interstate commerce" in US antitrust law.

Introduction David BOSCO Agrégé des facultés de droit, professeur à l’Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis 1. Curieusement, parler de l’affectation du commerce entre États membres n’a jamais été autant d’actualité qu’aujourd’hui. Le libellé des textes n’a pourtant pas changé depuis les traités fondateurs. « Sont incompatibles avec le marché intérieur et interdits tous accords entre entreprises, toutes décisions d'associations d'entreprises et toutes pratiques concertées, qui sont susceptibles d'affecter le commerce entre États membres […] » (auj. art. 101 TFUE) ; « Est incompatible avec le marché intérieur et interdit, dans la mesure où le commerce entre États membres est susceptible d'en être affecté, le fait pour une ou plusieurs entreprises d'exploiter de façon abusive une position dominante […] » (auj. art.

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Authors

  • Université Jean Moulin - Lyon III
  • University Aix-Marseille
  • French Competition Authority (Paris)
  • European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)

Quotation

Jean-Christophe Roda, David Bosco, Irène Luc, Pascal Cardonnel, Philippe Rincazaux, Effect on trade between Member States and anticompetitive practices: A current issue, May 2011, Concurrences N° 2-2011, Art. N° 35746, pp. 17-32

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