Antitrust regimes in the Pacific region

This On-Topic considers the competition regimes of the Pacific jurisdictions of Australia, French Polynesia and New Caledonia in the context of their respective market conditions. It seeks to determine whether there is uniformity in approach in the region, but finds that each jurisdiction has enacted a law considered suitable to its own particular needs. Despite significant differences, the competition laws of the Pacific jurisdictions and their enforcement are influenced by both French and European law. However, this does not mean that law enforcement will produce the same effects for businesses and consumers as in metropolitan France and in Europe. Indeed, geographical context, particularly insularity and spread out population, the small size of the economy, the newness of competition policy for business and politics worlds have specificities that might have an effect on the competition development in the Pacific region.


Deborah Healey
Professor, University of New South Wales Law School, Sydney

1. Competition laws are economic statutes aimed at promoting and protecting competition in markets. While there is general agreement about the types of conduct deemed to be detrimental to competition, the form and content of competition laws vary. The political economies of individual jurisdictions, and particularly their legal systems and cultures, mean that enforcement of individual provisions is often approached quite differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Even identical statutory provisions may be interpreted quite differently in different countries.

2. What constitutes an appropriate competition law or policy? Various factors influence the competition law and policy choices of individual jurisdictions. These include the size of a jurisdiction, the nature of its markets, and its stage of economic development. Ultimately different jurisdictions choose their laws based on what they perceive to be suitable for their own circumstances.

3. The following articles discuss more fully the competition regimes of Australia, French Polynesia and New Caledonia, which are all Pacific jurisdictions. French Polynesia and New Caledonia are technically overseas territories of France. New Caledonia has moved towards self-government, but it still depends on financial support from France. Australia is a constitutional monarchy theoretically governed by the Queen of England as head of state, although both the monarch and her vice regal representatives act in accordance with the advice of the government of the day.

4. This material considers issues of commonality and divergence between those regimes, drawing conclusions about the approach to competition law and policy in the Pacific region. It asks: is there a uniform approach within the region?

I. Small market economies

5. Market size within a jurisdiction is generally influenced by three main factors: “population size, population dispersion and openness to trade.” [1] It has been suggested that an appropriately structured competition policy is more important in a small economy since the costs of improper design and application might be higher in both the short and long run. [2] However, the benefits of an appropriate competition policy are said to be greater in small market economies than in larger markets. [3] It follows that choice of competition law and policy is particularly important.

6. Each of the jurisdictions discussed here is classified as small market economy, meaning that it can support only a small number of competitors in many of its industries. [4] New Caledonia, an archipelago east of Australia, has a population of 269,000. French Polynesia is several archipelagos with a similar total population. Both New Caledonia and French Polynesia are fragmented island economies with associated competition law issues. [5] This means that the traditional competition law and policy frameworks of larger developed market economies are unlikely to be entirely appropriate to their competition law and policy needs.

7. By way of contrast, Australia is much bigger in area and population, being a continent with a population of around 25 million. It is still classified in theoretical terms, however, as a small market economy: “(…) because most of its industries are characterised by concentrated market structures. This dispersion of its population over a comparatively large geographic area (albeit mostly around several urban centres) serves to create market regionalisation. This fact, coupled with its distance from its major trading partners, creates problems typical of small economies. [6]

8. These issues are explored further below in the context of the content of individual laws and their policy approaches.

II. Competition laws and institutions

9. The competition laws and institutions of New Caledonia and French Polynesia are very new, while Australian competition law has been well established for many years.

10. The competition law of New Caledonia is set out in enactments which are referenced below in the country report. The competition authority of New Caledonia, the Autorité de la concurrence de la Nouvelle-Calédonie (hereinafter the “ACNC”), was constituted as an independent authority and had its first meeting in March 2018. Its role is to supervise competition and the state of competitive markets by consulting; reviewing mergers and acquisitions; reviewing the opening, or extending, of commercial premises, change of branding, change of sector, relaunch by a new operator (the latter functions relate to control of market structure particularly in the retail sector); and taking action in cases of anti-competitive behaviour or restrictive practices.

11. The consultative role of the ACNC is notable as it is extremely broad and is specified in great detail in the law. The ACNC may consult on all competition-related matters and proposals. Congress must consult the ACNC on matters relating to price regulation and the formal decisions on setting prices for specific regulated goods and services. The Government of New Caledonia (hereinafter the “GNC”) must consult the ACNC as soon as a decision is envisaged in a sector in which market structures and conditions limit competition: for example, import markets and services dealing with dispatch, stocks and distribution (wholesale or retail). The GNC can consult the ACNC on any matter relating to competition. Congress and the GNC must consult the ACNC on any proposal to amend the law, and any draft decision or decree setting up or renewing a regime with direct effect in terms of quantitative restrictions on entry to a profession or access to a market; establishment of exclusivity within certain catchment zones; or the imposition of standard practices in terms of prices or conditions of sale. Similar obligations exist in relation to the local commercial code. The ACNC can also act on its own initiative to mount sectoral inquiries or issue recommendations on a competition matter. It may also make recommendations to the GNC on specific measures. There was a high demand for consultation in the first three months of the ACNC operation.

12. The French Polynesian Competition Code (hereinafter the “FPCC”) was implemented in 2015. [7] The regulator is the Polynesian Competition Authority (hereinafter the “PCA”), an independent authority. The PCA has three missions. It can issue at its own initiative, or be referred to for, opinion on any matter related to competition or legislative proposals; enforce competition law at its own initiative or following complainants’ requests; or guarantee a priori control of merger transactions.

13. Provisions on consultation here are far less specific than in New Caledonia. The president of French Polynesia may consult the PCA on draft legislation or matters linked to fair competition. The PCA may suggest to government steps to remedy arrangements which will distort competition.

14. By way of contrast to the other two jurisdictions, Australia has had a long history with competition law, introducing its Trade Practices Act in 1974, and renaming its amended law the Competition and Consumer Act (hereinafter the “CCA”) in 2010. The CCA has the objects of enhancing the welfare of Australian through the promotion of competition and fair trading and provision for consumer protection. Its regulator, formerly the Trade Practices Commission, was reconstituted and became known as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (hereinafter the “ACCC”) in 1995. The ACCC has a very wide range of functions and powers. In addition to investigating potential breaches of competition provisions, it has power to allow individual exemptions through its authorisation and notification processes, where it weighs anti-competitive conduct against public benefit. It plays an important role in the National Access Regime for third party access to declared services of infrastructure facilities that have monopoly characteristics. It has functions related to the provision of gas and electricity and telecommunications. It has always dealt with consumer protection issues, and the current consumer protection law is contained in the Australian Consumer Law, which is a Schedule to the CCA. It oversees product safety.

15. The ACCC conducts formal inquiries and informal market studies to support competition by identifying issues which prevent markets from delivering efficient outcomes and proposing options to address issues. It can be directed by the relevant government minister to undertake inquiries, which involve public consultation and extensive analysis. For these purposes it has formal information gathering powers. It is currently undertaking inquiries including one into the effect that digital platforms have on competition in media and advertising services. It has functions in relation to the dissemination of information for business and consumers.

III. Anti-competitive practices

16. This section contains a brief review of competition law provisions and is followed by a discussion of some of the more unusual approaches in each jurisdiction.

17. In New Caledonia prices are generally determined by the market but some prices are regulated. The competition law itself covers cartels, abuse of dominance, exclusive import agreements, abuse of dependence of a commercial partner and predatory pricing. Agreements or practices with the intention or effect of setting up exclusive import agreements are prohibited unless they can be justified based on economic efficiency with benefits shared equitably by consumers, provisions which are reminiscent of the EU approach. Abusively low consumer prices are prohibited.

18. All of these practices are punishable by sanctions imposed by the ACNC, with a maximum sanction of 175,000 Pacific Francs (approximately €1,500) and 5% of turnover since the commencement of the practices. Agreements or commitments in breach of the law are void, and individuals can be fined. Of note are provisions and remedies in relation to the conduct of businesses with a dominant position (i.e., more than 25% market share and turnover of over 600 million Pacific Francs [€5 million]). Remedies in relation to high prices or high margins include undertakings or structural injunctions. These provisions are similar to those employed in other territories.

19. Ex ante control in relation to concentration in the retail sector means that transactions are reportable over set turnover thresholds. Such proposals can be authorised quickly if they raise no issues but are subject to further consideration by the ACNC based on the impact on competition. Public interest is a factor in such consideration. Appeal from these determinations is to the administrative court of Nouméa and ultimately may be to the administrative court of appeal in Paris.

20. Finally, the government can bypass a decision of the ACNC citing public interest such as industrial development, competitiveness of business facing international competition, or creation or protection of employment. Where commercial concentration is involved, after identification of the reasons a decision authorising a concentration can be withdrawn. This can be appealed.

21. The French Polynesian Competition Code (hereinafter the “FPCC”) prohibits a broad range of cartels and related horizontal conduct, including concerted action, which has the purpose or effect of preventing, restricting or limiting, or distorting free competition in a French Polynesian market. It also deals with abuse of dominance, nominating seven specific practices which constitute abuse. Exclusions apply for cartels and for abuse of dominance where conduct ensures “economic progress, including by creating or maintaining jobs” and which, in short, spreads resulting profits to users without substantially eliminating competition. Certain categories of agreement, particularly those which are intended to improve the management of small or medium-sized undertakings, may meet these conditions if recognised by a regulatory order adopted following a favourable opinion by the PCA.

22. Mergers and joint ventures (concentrations) are subject to the FPCC, with compulsory notification over a set threshold. Lower thresholds for notification apply in relation to retail premises. Concentrations must be approved prior to completion. Time limits apply to the process. Commitments may be given by the parties to remedy anti-competitive impact. A more detailed examination may be undertaken where the PCA has serious concerns about a transaction. In these circumstances the PCA examines whether the transaction lessens competition and, whether it creates or reinforces a dominant position, or reinforces buying power that places suppliers in a position of economic dependence. The PCA examines the contribution to economic progress to offset the adverse impact on competition. It may fine parties to a merger who fail to notify when required to do so or which proceed with a transaction before approval.

23. Other PCA sanctions include financial penalties determined individually for companies or organisations, and reasons must be given. The maximum penalty for a company is 5% of turnover in the jurisdiction. Coercive fines may be imposed. A leniency program has been developed but is not yet in operation. Additional enforcement provisions apply for abuse of dominance.

24. The PCA has broad powers to adopt “Precautionary Measures” to stop practices which “seriously and immediately undermine the general economy, consumer interests or a plaintiff undertaking.” Measures include suspension of the conduct and an order returning the parties to their prior position. Any measures undertaken here must be strictly linked to the emergency in question.

25. In Australia the CCA prohibits cartels and other anti-competitive agreements; secondary boycotts; misuse of market power; exclusive dealing; and resale price maintenance. Criminal cartels are those which involve price fixing, market sharing, controlling output and bid rigging. These are illegal per se and may be prosecuted as civil contraventions or criminal offences depending upon the circumstances. The ACCC may resolve anti-competitive conduct by informal agreements with parties to remedy conduct or court enforceable undertakings. The ACCC has an Immunity and Co-operation Policy for Cartel Conduct.

26. Anti-competitive agreements include “concerted conduct” but these provisions may only be the subject of civil proceedings.

27. Mergers are prohibited if they have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition. There is no compulsory notification over a set threshold. Where parties believe that their merger or acquisition has the potential to breach the CCA they may notify under a formal process, which is rarely done. Alternatively, the parties may approach the ACCC under an informal process to seek the ACCC’s views on the conduct. This well-established process with set time frames is almost universally used, although it is not binding on third parties. The ACCC gives a transparent view of the anti-competitive impact of the conduct and warns the parties that if they proceed with it the ACCC is likely to seek an injunction in court to prevent it. Mergers may also be authorised by the ACCC if the parties apply and can show that the transaction would result in such a benefit to the public that it ought to be allowed.

28. Businesses may also seek authorisation or notification, which is an individual administrative permission, in respect of particular conduct under tests where the ACCC looks at anti-competitive detriment and public benefit. Class exemptions may also be granted.

29. The ACCC does not have the power to decide contraventions or impose pecuniary penalties. These decisions must be made by a court. Large penalties may be imposed on individuals and corporations, and a wide variety of other orders may be made by a court. In respect of criminal contraventions there are fines for corporations and individuals, and potential prison sentences for individuals.

30. The CCA is also enforceable by private parties who can seek an injunction and other orders in relation to conduct which breaches the CCA and seek to recover the amount of loss or damage suffered as a result. The ACCC can intervene in such proceedings.

IV. Bespoke provisions

31. Each of the jurisdictions has drafted its laws ostensibly to suit its particular circumstances and to encourage competition in areas of perceived weakness. This section discusses some of the more unique provisions in each of the laws which reflect individual issues.

32. The competition laws of New Caledonia and French Polynesia are very new and envisage price regulation and the setting of prices for specific regulated goods and services. Clearly in small, fragmented, isolated economies there are special problems in relation to pricing of particularly essential products which would never manifest in a larger, more accessible or developed economy. In New Caledonia, for example, misuse of market power and exploitation in pricing of essential items are real risks given the small fragmented market size and the relative isolation. The likelihood of meaningful market entry and competition for sales is therefore remote for some products and services, even if prices of these essential items are raised significantly by incumbent suppliers. Price control may be the best mechanism in some essential product markets at this stage of development; however, regulators should ensure that it limits the application of price control to a small range of goods and services, should regularly review the need for it and seek out opportunities to attract additional competitors into any of these markets which could potentially be deregulated. Growing consumer sophistication about some products may further open-up markets but in relation to others it is unlikely that markets will ever be truly competitive.

33. Both New Caledonia and French Polynesia have merger provisions aimed at assessing the impact of retail store creation and control. In French Polynesia, for example, all mergers involving managing a new or existing retail store with a floor surface over three hundred square metres must be notified to the PCA. Transactions may be allowed or prohibited, or the applicant may be ordered to take all appropriate steps to maintain competition. Failure to comply may lead to a fine of up to 5% of turnover in the jurisdiction. These specific provisions indicate the impact of competition in retail in this type of jurisdiction.

34. Australia, by way of contrast, is a well-established competition law jurisdiction. Of interest in the context of its small market economy status is its threshold setting for its unilateral conduct “Misuse of market power” provision. [8] This is set at a “substantial degree of market power,” rather than the more common “dominance” test, although measures of market power itself are approached similarly to the methodologies of the European Union. This threshold was implemented in 1986 with the express purpose of lowering the existing threshold of “in a position to substantially control” a market, which was said to be “widely acknowledged [as] a most rigorous one if strictly applied (…) [A]s a result the section had no application except to a few very powerful corporations with requisite market control.” [9] The change was expressly made to ensure that the test could apply to more than one player in the market, which was appropriate for a jurisdiction which contains many oligopoly markets. Its setting for merger analysis was also amended quite some time ago from tests which focused on control or domination of the market following a merger to a broader test which now prohibits mergers which have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition. [10]

V. Conclusion

35. Analysis of the three jurisdictions indicates that while there are some areas of commonality, the competition laws do not share a truly common approach. The laws of New Caledonia and French Polynesia are more similar but the reason for this likely lies in their French influences, as well as their very small fragmented market economy status. The structure and realities of Australian markets are quite different as its its law.

36. The standard competition prohibitions are present in all of the jurisdictions, although New Caledonia does not appear to look at all mergers. Compulsory notification of mergers subject to the laws is present in New Caledonia and French Polynesia but not Australia. French Polynesia and Australia have Leniency Programs, although the former is not yet operative.

37. Unique perspectives exist in all of the laws and reflect their individual competition law environments. A more fruitful examination of these laws in action should be undertaken once the two newer laws are well established and showing an enforcement history which will begin to indicate their true worth as laws which will foster and protect the competitive process.

The French Polynesian competition law and its enforcement

Tehono Marchal
Former counsellor of the President and Members of the Council, Polynesian Competition Authority, Papeete

Jacques Merot
President, Polynesian Competition Authority, Papeete

I. Introduction

1. Sources of national law

1.1 Context of the law 

1. The French Polynesian Competition Code was created three years ago by a domestic law dated February 23, 2015.

2. A new domestic law dated August 9 of this year just reformed the Competition Code. The French Administrative Supreme Court validated the law with the exception of a provision dealing with incompatibilities. So that the Polynesian Competition Authority (hereinafter the “PCA” or the “Competition Authority”) [11] is now applying the new framework.

1.2 Where to find the law into force…

3. The French Polynesian competition law may be found in the domestic law and the internal rules of the Competition Authority. Both French Polynesian Competition Code and internal rules are published on the PCA’s website. [12]

1.3 What are the different parts?

4. The Competition Code deals with anti-competitive practices as well as economic concentration and retail store creation control. Furthermore, the rules defined in the Code apply to all production, distribution and service activities, including those that are carried out by public persons or by private persons. The Authority may also be consulted by the president of French Polynesia on draft legislation or any matter linked to fair competition.

2. Institutions

2.1 Presentation

5. The Competition Code is implemented by the PCA. The PCA is the first independent administrative authority of French Polynesia. The PCA is independent from the government and companies. The Authority is also administrative while acting on behalf of French Polynesia. The PCA is at last an authority with its various powers (fines, recommendations, etc.).

2.2 Missions

6. The PCA has three missions.

  • First of all, the PCA can issue at its own initiative [13] or be referred to, [14] for opinion on any matter related to competition or legislative proposals. [15]
  • In addition, the PCA enforces the competition law against anti-competitive practices at its own initiative or following complainants’ requests.
  • Finally, the PCA guarantees an a priori control of merger transactions and retail store creation or change.

2.3 Organization

7. The investigation is conducted in total independence by the investigation services headed by the general rapporteur. Then the case is examined by the Council of members headed by the president of the PCA, with the assistance of the President Service, Procedure Service and Secretary Service.

8. The PCA belongs to the International Competition Network [16] and works in a privileged manner with the French Competition Authority [17] and the New Caledonia [18] one.

II. Anti-competitive practices [19]

1. Substantive provisions

1.1 Anti-competitive agreement and concerted practices

9. Article LP 200-1 of the French Polynesian Competition Code (hereinafter the “FPCC”) provides that concerted actions, agreements, express or tacit undertakings or coalitions shall be prohibited, even through the direct or indirect intermediation of a company in the group established outside French Polynesia, where they have the aim or may have the effect of preventing, restricting or distorting the free competition in a French Polynesian market, particularly where they are intended to:

1° Limit access to the market or the free exercise of competition by other undertakings;

2° Prevent price setting by the free play of market forces, by artificially encouraging the increase or reduction of prices;

3° Limit or control production, opportunities, investments or technical progress;

4° Share out markets or sources of supply.

1.2 Abuses of dominant position

10. Article LP 200-2 of the FPCC provides that the abuse of a dominant position by an undertaking or group of undertakings is prohibited. “Conduct may, especially, constitute such an abuse if it consists in:

1° Refusal to sell;

2° case of tied selling;

3° deferred rebates contrary to correct practice;

4° applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

5° breaking off business relationship developed, on the sole grounds that business partner refuses to submit to terms and conditions that are unjustified

6° agreement line;

7° imposing abnormally low buying price to a commercial partner.

11. Article LP 200-3 of the FPCC also provides that agreements or concerted practices aimed at granting exclusive import rights to an undertaking or group of undertakings are prohibited. According to the new domestic law dated August 9, 2018, this provision has been deleted, so that exclusive imports are again allowed.

1.3 Exclusion of prohibition’s cases

12. Article LP 200-5 of the FPCC provides that the following practices are not subject to the provisions of Articles LP 200-1 and LP 200-2:

1° Those that result from the implementation of a statute or regulation adopted by Assembly of French Polynesia or Council of Ministers in application thereof;

2° Those for which the authors can prove that they have the effect of ensuring economic progress, including by creating or maintaining jobs, and that they reserve for users a fair share in the resulting profit, without giving the undertakings involved the opportunity to eliminate competition for a substantial part of the products in question. Those practices may impose restrictions on competition only insofar as these are essential to achieve this aim of progress.
Certain categories of agreement or certain agreements, in particular when they are intended to improve the management of small or medium-sized undertakings, may be recognised as meeting these conditions by a regulatory order adopted following a favourable opinion from the Competition Authority.

2. Enforcement

2.1 Precautionary measures

13. Article LP 641-1 of the FPCC provides that the Competition Authority may, at the request of the persons, the undertakings and the organizations indicated in Article LP 620-5, and after having heard the parties in question, adopt the precautionary measures which are requested thereof or which seem necessary thereto.

14. These measures may be applied only if the reported practice seriously and immediately undermines the general economy, the economy of the sector concerned, the interest of consumers or the plaintiff undertaking. They may include the suspension of the practice concerned and an order to the parties to return the situation to the prior state. They must be strictly linked to what is necessary to tackle the emergency.

2.2 Financial penalty

15. The Competition Authority may order (Article LP 641-2 of the FPCC) the companies or bodies concerned to cease their non-competitive practices within a specified period or may impose special conditions. It may also accept commitments made by companies or bodies likely to end it.

16. It may impose a financial penalty applicable either immediately or in the event of non-compliance with the conditions imposed or the commitments accepted. The financial penalties shall be proportionate to the time and seriousness of the alleged breaches, and notably take the level of the damage caused towards the economy into account, the distortion caused on the relevant market, real or potential effects on consumers, in time and space, particular situation of the organization or company fined or the group to which the company belongs and the possible risks of repetition of the prohibited practices mentioned in Articles LP 200-1 to LP 200-2. They shall be individually determined for each company or body penalised, with reasons given for each penalty.

17. If the offender is not a company, the maximum amount of the penalty is 100 million Pacific Francs.

18. The maximum amount of the penalty for a company is 5% of the French Polynesian turnover, net of tax, achieved in one of the financial years ended after the financial year preceding that in which the practices were implemented. If the accounts of the company concerned have been consolidated or combined by virtue of the texts applicable to its legal form, the turnover taken into account is that shown in the consolidated or combined accounts of the consolidating or combining company.

19. The Competition Authority may order that its decision, or an abstract thereof, be published, diffused or posted on its noticeboard or website in the manner which it stipulates.

2.3 Daily coercive fines

20. The Competition Authority may impose daily coercive fines on the parties concerned of not more than 1% of the average daily turnover, per day of delay, with effect from the date it determines, to compel them to:

a) Comply with a decision which enjoined them to cease the non-competitive practices or imposed special conditions, or to implement a decision making a commitment compulsory by virtue of I and III of the present article;

b) Implement the measures imposed pursuant to Article LP 641-1.

21. The turnover taken into account is calculated on the basis of the company’s accounts for the last financial year ended as of the date of the decision.

2.4 No contestation of grievances

22. When an organization or a company does not contest reality grievances that are notified to it, the Competition Authority may issue a pecuniary sanction clause by III of Article LP 641-2 of the FPCC In that situation, half shall decrease the maximum value of the potential sentence. When the company or organization undertakes to amend its behaviour for the future, the Competition Authority can take it into account when fixing the value of the sanction.

2.5 Obstruction and pecuniary sanction

23. Where an undertaking or body does not obey a summons or does not answer within the specified deadline to a request for information or a request to provide documents made by one of the officials referred to in Article LP 610-6 in the exercise of the powers vested in him or her, the Competition Authority may, at the request of the general rapporteur, pronounce an order against the undertaking or body, together with a coercive fine, within the limits set out in II of Article LP 641-2 of the FPCC.

24. When a company, a person or an organization obstructs access to information requests, investigations or inquiry as well as not contributing elements of any kind, by providing incomplete or inaccurate information, or by addressing incomplete documents, the Competition Authority may adopt, upon general rapporteur’s request, and after the hearing of the firm concerned, a decision imposing a pecuniary sanction. The maximum value of the fine cannot exceed 1% of the amount of turnover generated in French Polynesia, on the basis of the uppermost closed turnover generated preceding the year in which practices implemented.

2.6 Proposals to remedy the malfunctioning of markets

25. Due to a decision, if it is determined that supply arrangements or structure of the market concerned have as their object to distort free competition, the Competition Authority may suggest to the Government of French Polynesia the necessary steps to remedy the malfunctioning of markets concerned (wholesale market for goods and services) whether transit, storage or distribution. The measures proposed deal with market access conditions, absence of any price discrimination, fair trading, trader’s margin and management of essential facilities aiming to protect the interest of customers.

2.7 Leniency program

26. According to the new domestic law dated August 9, 2018, another provision has been added to this article such as: “VI. – A total or partial exemption from pecuniary sanctions may be granted to a company or an organization which has, with others, implemented a practice prohibited by the provisions of Article LP. 200-1 if it contributed to establish the reality of the prohibited practice and to identify its authors, by bringing elements of information which the Competition Authority did not have previously. Following the action of the company or organization, the Authority, at the request of the President of French Polynesia or the general rapporteur, adopts for this purpose a leniency notice, which specifies the conditions to which it is subject. The exemption envisaged, after the Government Commissioner and the company or organization concerned submitted their comments; this notice is sent to the President of French Polynesia and the company or organization, and is not published. In the decision taken pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article, the Authority may, after hearing the Government Commissioner and the company or organization concerned without prior reporting, and, if the conditions specified in notice of leniency have been respected, grant an exemption from pecuniary sanctions proportionate to the contribution made to the establishment of the offense.”

2.8 Specific provisions for abuse of dominance

27. Article LP 641-3 of the FPCC provides that:

I. If exploitative abuses of a dominant position or economic dependency from a company or a larger business group operating one or more stores for retail trade, the Competition Authority may operate injunction or financial penalties laid down in I of Article LP 641-2. If injunctions or financial penalties sentenced have not put a stop to abuse of a dominant position or economic dependency, the Competition Authority may, by a reasoned decision and after company or larger business group’s written reply to the statement of objections, direct to modify, to complete or to terminate, within a given timeframe, agreements and other acts through which helped an economic power to misuse its power. It may, in the same conditions, enquire to transfer surface to end abuses of dominant position if this transfer is the only means to ensure effective and fair competition in the catchment area given.

28. According to the new domestic law dated August 9, 2018, the second part of this Article has been deleted. The former provisions were II. If existing a dominant position held by a company or a larger business group, raising competition concerns as a result of prices or high mark-ups, if this company or business group follow, comparatively with average levels for the economic sector concerned, or when a company or business group holds, in a catchment area a market share in excess 35%, which means a turnover higher than 600,000,000 Pacific Francs, the Competition Authority may address its concerns to the company or business group involved. It also may, within two months, forward commitments. Market share mentioned in the preceding paragraph is estimated under turnover generated in the activity and catchment area concerned. However, in the retail sector, market share is deemed proportional to retail space operated. If the company or business group does not offer undertakings, or if they are not sufficient to discontinue the competition concerns, the Competition Authority may, by a motivated decision, order to amend, to complete or to terminate, within a specific time limit that cannot exceed two months, all agreements and other acts through which helped an economic power to misuse its power towards practices identified as to prices and margins. It may, on equal terms, order them to sell some assets if this sale is the only way to ensure effective and fair competition.

III. Mergers [20]

1. Scope of control

1.1 Definition of a merger

29. Mergers are defined by Article LP 310-1 of the FPCC:

I. A concentration shall be deemed to have occurred where:

1° two or more previously independent undertakings merge;

2° one or more persons already having control of at least one undertaking or when one or more undertakings acquire control of all or part of one or more other undertakings, directly or indirectly, whether by the acquisition of a holding in the capital or by purchasing assets, a contract or any other means.

II. The creation of a joint venture performing on a lasting basis all the functions of an autonomous economic entity shall constitute a concentration as defined in this article.

III. For the purposes of applying this title, supervision will arise from rights, contracts or any other means which, either separately or in combination and having regard to the considerations of fact or law involved, confer the possibility of exercising a decisive influence on an undertaking, in particular by:

1° ownership or the right to use all or part of the assets of an undertaking;

2° rights or contracts that confer decisive influence on the composition, voting or decisions of the organs of an undertaking.

1.2 Merger operation subjected to conditions

30. Article LP 310-2 of the FPCC provides that:

I. Any merger operation as defined in Article LP 310-1 is subject to the provisions of Articles LP 310-3 et seq. of the present Book when the following two conditions are met:

1° the combined turnover exclusive of tax in French Polynesia of all of the companies or of all of the natural persons or legal entities involved in the merger is greater than 2 milliard Pacific Francs;

2° the combined aggregate turnover exclusive of tax in French Polynesia earned individually by at least two of all of the companies or of all of the natural persons or legal entities involved in the merger is greater than 500 million Pacific Francs;

II. When at least two of the parties to the concentration operate one or more retail outlets, any concentration operation as defined in Article LP310-1 shall be subject to the provisions of Articles LP 310-3 et seq. of this Title when the two conditions below are met:

1° the combined aggregate turnover exclusive of tax earned in French Polynesia by all of the companies or of all of the natural persons or legal entities involved in the merger is greater than 1.5 milliard Pacific Francs;

2° the total turnover exclusive of tax generated individually by at least two of all of the companies or of all of the natural persons or legal entities involved in the merger is greater than 200 million Pacific Francs.

III. Thresholds referred in this article are those reported to the tax authorities.

2. Nature: Ex ante

31. The concentration must be notified to the Competition Authority prior to its completion (Article LP 310-3 of the FPCC). This notification shall be made when the party or parties concerned are able to present a project that is sufficiently advanced to enable the processing of the file, and particularly when they have signed an agreement in principle, a letter of intent or, after the announcement of a public bid.

32. The notification shall be submitted by the natural persons or legal entities acquiring control of all or part of an undertaking or, in the event of a merger or creation of a common undertaking, by all the parties concerned, which must therefore make the notification jointly. The contents of the notification file shall be determined by council of ministers.

33. Upon receipt of the notification of an operation, the Competition Authority shall publish a statement on its website or in the French Polynesia Official Journal in accordance with the procedures determined by council of ministers.

34. Upon receipt of the notification file, the Competition Authority shall send a copy to the president of French Polynesia.

35. The concentration can be effectively completed (Article LP 310-4 of the FPCC) only after the Competition Authority has given its consent or, in case of the evocative power, the consent of the president of French Polynesia.

36. In the event of a duly justified special need, the notifying parties may ask the Competition Authority for an exemption allowing them to carry through all or part of the concentration without waiting for the decision referred to in the first paragraph and without prejudice to that decision.

3. Implementation

37. Article LP 310-5 of the FPCC provides that the Competition Authority shall decide on the concentration within twenty-five business days as from the date it receives the complete notification.

38. The parties to the concentration may undertake to adopt measures aimed in particular at remedying, if applicable, the anti-competitive effects of the concentration either on the occasion of the notification or at any time before the expiration of the twenty-five business day period from the date of receipt of the complete notification, as long as the decision has not been delivered.

39. If the Competition Authority agrees to the commitments, the period shall be extended by fifteen business days.

40. In case of special need, such as the finalization of the commitments mentioned in the previous paragraph, the parties may ask the Competition Authority to suspend the time limit for examining the operation for up to fifteen business days.

41. The Competition Authority may:

1° either find, in a reasoned decision, that the concentration notified thereto does not fall within the scope defined by Articles LP 310-1 and LP 310-2;

2° or authorize the concentration, possibly by subordinating this authorization, in a reasoned decision, to the actual implementation of the commitments made by the parties;

3° or, if it deems that there remains a serious doubt of an adverse impact on competition, conduct a detailed examination as specified in Articles LP 310-6 and LP 310-7.

42. When a concentration is examined in detail (Article LP 310-6 of the FPCC), the Competition Authority shall examine whether it is likely to have an adverse effect on competition, in particular by creating or reinforcing a dominant position or by creating or reinforcing buying power that places suppliers in a situation of economic dependence. It shall assess whether the concentration makes a sufficient contribution to economic progress to offset the adverse impacts on competition.

43. The procedure applicable to this detailed examination of the operation by the Competition Authority is the one specified in Title III of Book VI. However, both the parties that carry out the notification and the government representative must produce their observations in response to the report within fifteen business days.

44. Before it issues a ruling, the Competition Authority may hear third parties in the absence of the parties that carried out the notification. Works councils of the companies concerned by the concentration shall be heard at their request by the Competition Authority under the same conditions.

45. The decision of the Competition Authority is sent within seven business days to the president of French Polynesia.

46. The new domestic law dated August 9, 2018, sets up a general evocation power (Article LP 310-7-1 of the FPCC). Exceptionally, the president of French Polynesia may take up a case when it has a strategic dimension. In such cases, he or she may overrule the decision of the Competition Authority by adopting a decision motivated by reasons of general interest other than maintaining fair competition (industrial development, competitiveness of companies in relation to international competition, creating or maintaining employment).

4. Enforcement

47. Article LP 310-8 of the FPCC provides that:

I. If a concentration has been carried out without being notified, the Competition Authority directs the parties, subject to a progressive coercive fine, as provided in IV of Article LP 641-2, to notify the concentration, or return to the state prior to the concentration. Furthermore, the Competition Authority may impose on the persons responsible for the notification, a financial penalty that shall not exceed, for legal entities, 5% of their pre-tax turnover made in French Polynesia during the last closed financial year, plus, if applicable, the turnover that the acquired party made in France during the same period, and, for natural persons, 20 million Pacific Francs.

II. If a notified concentration not benefiting from the exemption specified by the second paragraph of Article LP 310-4 has been carried out before the authorization, the Competition Authority may impose on the notifying persons a financial penalty that may not exceed the amount defined in I.

III. In the event of an omission or incorrect declaration in a notification, the Competition Authority may impose on the notifying persons a financial penalty that may not exceed the amount defined in I. This penalty may be accompanied by the withdrawal of the decision authorising the concentration. Unless the situation is returned to the state prevailing prior to the concentration, the parties shall then be required to notify the concentration again, within one month from the withdrawal of the decision, otherwise they will incur the penalties specified by I.

IV. If it considers that the parties have not fulfilled an order, requirement or commitment in its decision, the Competition Authority shall establish a breach of these obligations.

It may:

1° Withdraw the decision authorising the concentration. Unless the situation is returned to the state prevailing prior to the concentration, the parties shall be required to notify the concentration again, within one month from the withdrawal of the decision, otherwise they will incur the penalties specified by I;

2° Enjoin the parties, who were subject to the unfulfilled obligation, subject to a progressive coercive fine, to fulfil, within the limits of the provisions in IV of Article LP 641-2;

3° Enjoin the parties, who were subject to the unfulfilled obligation, subject to a progressive coercive fine, to fulfil new obligation, within the limits of the provisions in II of article LP 641-2.

In addition, the Competition Authority may impose on the persons, who were subject to the unfulfilled obligation, a financial penalty that may not exceed the amount defined in I. The Competition Authority shall rule on the case within seventy-five business days.

V. If a concentration has been carried out in breach of the decisions taken pursuant to Article LP 310-7, the Competition Authority shall enjoin the parties to return to the state prevailing prior to the concentration, subject to a progressive coercive fine, within the limits of the provisions of Article LP 641-2.

The Competition Authority may also impose the financial penalty specified in I on persons upon who the foregoing decisions were imposed.

48. Article LP 310-9 of the FPCC also provides that the Competition Authority may, in the event of the abuse of a dominant position, enjoin, by a reasoned decision, the undertaking or group of undertakings involved to amend, supplement or cancel, within a specified period, all agreements and all acts by which the concentration of economic power allowing the abuse has been carried out, even if these acts relate to a merger allowed previously.

IV. Retail store creation control [21]

49. Like New Caledonia, the PCA controls retail store creation.

1. Scope of control

50. Article LP 320-1 of the FPCC provides that any merger operation is subject to the provisions of Article LP 320-1 when the following conditions are met:

1° Managing new retail store of a surface over three hundred square meters;

2° Managing in existing retail store a new surface over a total of three hundred square meters;

3° Any brand change or any sector change of retail store of a surface over three hundred square meters;

4° Resuming trade of a surface over three hundred square meters, except this constituted a merger that must be notified under French Polynesian Competition Code.

2. Nature: Ex ante

51. Article LP 320-2 of the FPCC provides a prior notification: “The duty to notify under the present title applies to the legal or natural person who will manage the store at issue. The notification file content shall be determined by a decree adopted by the council of ministers.”

3. Implementation

52. Article LP 320-3 of the FPCC provides that the Competition Authority shall take a decision within thirty working days after receiving the complete notification file. In particular, it examines whether the transaction creates or strengthens a dominant position.

53. The Competition Authority may also consider the compliance of projects mentioned in Article LP.320-1 with land-use planning requirements.

54. The Authority may either:

1° Authorize the proposed operation;

2° Prohibit the proposed operation, if it estimates that the project is likely to affect unduly the state of competition;

3° Or order the applicant to take all appropriate measures to maintain an adequate competition.

55. The applicant has thirty working days to comply with the injunctions and for submitting a supplementary dossier to the Competition Authority. In the event that the proposed measure(s) is (are) insufficient or if the applicant does not submit a supplementary dossier, the Authority will prohibit the proposed operation.

4. Enforcement

56. Article LP 320-4 of the FPCC provides that:

I. The Authority may inflict a fine to the person in charge of the notification, that can reach, for a legal person, up to 5% of its turnover excluding tax in French Polynesia during the last closed financial year and, for a natural person, a maximum of 20 million [Pacific Francs], in the following cases:

- if an operation covered by the present Title has been carried out without being notified;

- if an operation covered by the present Title and notified has been carried out before the intervention of the Authority’s decision provided for in Article LP. 320-3;

- if an operation covered by the present Title has been carried out in contravention of the decision of the Authority provided for in Article LP. 320-3;

- in case of omission or misrepresentation in a notification.

II. The Authority may also order under financial compulsion, within the limit provided for in IV of Article LP. 641-2, to the person in charge of the notification:

- to revert to the previous state before the operation, if it was carried out without being notified to the Authority or in contravention of a decision of the Authority provided for in Article LP. 320-3;

- to implement, within a period fixed by the Authority, the injunctions ruled in the decision provided for in paragraph 3 of Article LP. 320-3.”

New competition kid on the Pacific block: The Competition Authority of New Caledonia (CANC)

Robin Simpson
Non-permanent Member of the Council of Members. Competition Authority of New Caledonia, Noumea

Aurélie Zoude-Le Berre
President, Competition Authority of New Caledonia, Noumea

I. Introduction

1. 2018 has welcomed a new entrant into the ranks of competition authorities, namely the Competition Authority of New Caledonia (hereinafter the “CANC”). New Caledonia (hereinafter “NC”), a Melanesian archipelago situated in the Pacific Ocean to the east of Queensland, Australia, became an overseas French territory in 1946. The population is 269,000, of which the original inhabitants, the Kanaks, are the largest ethnic group, but nevertheless a minority (39% of the total population at the 2014 census), other main groups being of European origin (Caldoche – 27%) plus 9% self-declared “Caledonians” (mainly European) with 11% coming from other island groups, while further groups include Asian, mixed race and non-declared.

2. NC has a unique system of government, moving away from overseas territory status towards a higher degree of self-government, subsequent to the Nouméa Agreement of 1998, which initiated a twenty-year transition period, during which the governance of most domestic issues, including price controls for example, has been transferred to the government of NC (hereinafter the “GNC”). The government is collegial and represents all political groups according to the number of seats obtained in the Congress of which there are 54 members.

3. The Kanak population has a Customary Senate assembling the members of traditional clan-based councils, dispensing customary law based on the oral tradition, and having jurisdiction over legal proposals “concerning the Kanak identity,” as well as a deliberative role regarding aspects of civil law and land.

4. NC has a high commissioner representing the French state. It is also represented in the French National Assembly and the French Senate. Certain powers, described as “régaliens” (sovereign), such as justice, public order, defence, foreign affairs and monetary policy, remain with the French government until the referendum on full independence (or not) which falls due in November 2018. Hence, the establishment of the CANC has occurred towards the culmination of this process of devolution of powers and commanded considerable cross-party support when voted on by the Congress (see below).

II. Sources of national law

1. Context: Establishment of the competition authority in New Caledonia

5. Since 2010, NC has witnessed repeated protests against “la vie chère” (the high cost of living). In general the gap between prices in NC and those in metropolitan France is around 33%, in contrast with 10% in French Guiana and 7% in Reunion and Mayotte, also small overseas territories. Even more dramatic is that the gap rose by almost twenty percentage points between 2010 and 2015, from 89% to 108% for products in the standard French “food basket.”

6. Indeed, even if NC’s GDP per head is relatively high, similar to that of New Zealand, the average contains considerable inequalities, especially bearing in mind that much rural production is outside the formal economy, estimates being as high as one third of the total agricultural output. This is in a context in which formally recorded agriculture is in decline, the number of agricultural businesses having fallen by 20% in ten years and their workforce almost halving. So, unlike say New Zealand where average general incomes are similar in cash terms, agricultural output in NC is modest. So high food prices pose a particular problem for low-income families. Furthermore, although economic growth in general has been robust in recent years, the main industry, nickel, was quite seriously affected by the global recession. Overall, NC depends considerably on financial support from France.

7. In response to such varied pressures, the territorial authorities have developed a battery of price controls with varying degrees of success (see below) and also asked for an audit of the control mechanisms and institutions regarding competition in NC, to be carried out by the competition authority in metropolitan France. The audit recommended the creation of an independent competition authority for NC modelled on that prevailing in France. [22]

8. This proposal was reinforced in December 2012, by the 11th meeting of the signatories to the 1998 Nouméa Agreement, which recommended in favour of an amendment to the “loi organique” regarding the governance of NC (“fundamental law” – no 99-209,19 March 1999), with a view to enabling the establishment of independent administrative authorities. This corresponded with the pre-existing support for the establishment of a local competition authority and the consequence was the insertion in 2013, into Article 27-1 of the loi organique, of the power of the GNC to establish such a body.

9. The “loi du pays” (hereinafter “Lp”: body of laws peculiar to NC, adopted under the terms of the “loi organique”) no 2014-12, 24 April 2014, enacted the establishment of the Competition Authority by amending Volume IV of the legislative section of the Commercial Code for NC as an independent, impartial, administrative authority. [23]

10. Under article Lp. 461-1 of the Commercial Code for NC, the CANCCANC “supervises the interplay of free competition and competitive markets in NC.” The authority comprises a council of members (“collège”—hereinafter the “Council”) and an investigation service. The Council is composed of four independent members, including the president, free of institutional or economic interests in NC. The presidency is a full-time post, backed up by three “non-permanent” members. The decisions of the Council operate according to a simple majority. The investigations by the CANC are carried out by the rapporteur general supported by an assistant rapporteur general and a small team of rapporteurs. Together this team comprises the ’service d’instruction’, which presents its report on a given file to the Council for decision.

11. The nominations for members of the Council emerged from a protracted process lengthened by the strict conditions regarding conflict of interest as imposed by the loi organique and the loi du pays. As a result, loi du pays no 2016-15 of 30 September 2016, entitled: “Concurrence, Compétitivité et Prix (competition, competitivity and price) modifying the local Commercial Code, introduced a degree of flexibility to smooth the process and to allow the CANC to function. In July 2017, the GNC submitted for consideration by the Congress a list of five candidates for the CANC only for it not to be adopted for reasons of conflict of interest as the candidate for president had served as legal counsellor to a company active in NC. However, eventually on 13 December 2017, the Congress approved a new candidate list, without opposition (there being just six abstentions and no contrary votes).

12. This long process culminated on the 2nd of March 2018 in the Council taking up its functions in the first meeting of the Competition Authority as reported in the Official Journal of New Caledonia (hereinafter the “OJ of NC”). In doing so, it took over those functions previously exercised in this domain by the GNC, in accordance with Article 16 of the loi du pays no 2014-12 of 24 April 2014 cited above.

2. The applicable law

13. The Authority is under a duty to apply Caledonian competition law as laid out under délibération no 14 of 6 October 2004 regarding economic regulation as per loi du pays no 2013-8 of 24 October 2013. These texts have been codified under loi du pays no 2014-7 of 14 February 2014, further amended by the lois du pays no 2014-12 of 24 April 2014 and no 2016-15 of 30 September 2016.

14. The relevant texts are the following:

  •  Loi organique no 2013-1027 of 15 November 2013 updating loi organique no 99-209 of 19 March 1999, notably inserting Article 27-1 allowing establishment of the CANC by the GNC;
  •  Loi du pays no 2014-7 of 14 February 2014 relating to the competition rules set out in the local Commercial Code referred to as the “antitrust law”;
  •  Loi du pays no 2014-12 of 24 April 2014 setting up the CANC and amending the Commercial Code for NC.

15. This body of texts is codified in Volume IV of the local Commercial Code for NC.

16. The functions of the CANC depend on the following texts:

  •  La loi organique no 2016-507 of 25 April 2016 relating to the status of independent administrative authorities set up in NC;
  •  The délibération no 155 containing various provisions relating to remuneration and compensation of certain members of the Authority, notably relaxing constraints regarding the competences of the president and the rapporteur general;
  •  Loi du pays no 2016-15 “Concurrence, Compétitivité et Prix” (competition, competitivity and price) amending the local Commercial Code with a view to the establishment and smooth running of the CANC.

17. Various administrative orders filling out the legislation with regard to mergers and the retail sector: arrêtés no 2018-41/GNC and no 2018-43/GNC of 9 January 2018 published in the OJ of NC, 6 February 2018.

3. Missions and rules of the CANC

18. The Authority is in charge of supervising practices relating to competition and the state of competitive markets. To this end, the CANC has three missions:

  •  Consultation: the CANC advises formally on draft legal texts put forward by the government and by the Congress more generally, regarding all questions relating to competition and markets.
  •  Ex ante prevention and control: with a view to consideration of the compatibility with competition rules, of:

(i) proposed mergers and acquisitions;

(ii) proposed opening, or extending, of commercial premises, change of branding, change of sector, relaunch by a new operator;

  •  Ex post correction: through referral or self-referral in cases of anti-competitive behaviour or restrictive practices, possibly leading to sanctions, as the case may be.

19. According to decision no 2018-01 of 26 February 2018, the Council started up the new administrative authority on the basis of an independent status.

20. On the 2nd of March 2018, the internal rules of the Authority were adopted, including rules of professional ethics. The president is responsible for the application of the rules whose application is the responsibility of the president. The administrative services, responsible for application of due process, comprise a secretariat and a legal office.

21. The rules lay out procedures for members and staff and safeguard their independence, for example, through obligations to declare property and business interests, to declare any conflict and to observe the code of ethics. It sets out procedures for investigation, for referral, for transmission to the Council for decision and the procedure for the Council to arrive at a decision.

22. The code of ethics binds each person working in the Authority, permanently or temporarily, to an obligation of confidentiality. It regulates the scope of outside activities and interests, as set out under Articles 432-12 and 432-13 of the Penal Code under pain of legal sanction.

III. Institutions

1. Powers of consultation

1.1 The extent of consultative powers of the CANC

23. As already noted, the NC model of government is unique, with its own institutions, wide range of competences and high degree of autonomy organized around the Congress and GNC, as well as a Customary Senate and an Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) which like the CANC exercises consultative powers.

24. The consultative mission of the CANC permits it to pronounce on all competition-related matters and to make proposals. This stands in contrast to the power of adjudication which enables the CANC to intervene with a view to control of market structure (for example relating to concentration in the retail sector) and to apply sanctions in cases of anti-competitive or restrictive practices.

25. Under Article Lp. 411-1 of the local Commercial Code for NC, there is an obligation on the Congress to consult the CANC on all matters relating to general price regulation and on the government to consult on all proposals for formal decisions regarding the setting of prices for specific regulated goods and services.

26. The key Article Lp. 411-3 of the local Commercial Code imposes on the government the obligation to consult the CANC as soon as a decision is envisaged in a sector in which market structures and conditions limit competition (for example import markets and services dealing with despatch, stocks and distribution, whether wholesale or retail).

27. Under Article Lp. 462-1 of the local Commercial Code, the CANC can be consulted by the GNC on any matter relating to competition. Under Article Lp. 462-2, the CANC must be consulted by the Congress and the GNC regarding any proposal to amend the loi du pays and any draft decision or decree setting up or renewing any regime with a direct effect in terms of:

1° quantitative restrictions on entry into a profession or access to a market;

2° establishment of exclusivity within certain catchment zones;

3° imposition of standard practices in terms of price or conditions of sale.

28. There exist similar obligations in relation to the local Commercial Code. In this respect, the CANC must reply to the public authorities, presenting its observations on the draft text and proposing solutions compatible with competition. Clearly in such cases a reasonable deadline has to be provided for a considered view to be put forward.

29. Finally, under the term of Article Lp. 462-4 of the local Commercial Code, the CANC can act on its own initiative, to mount sectoral enquiries and/or issue recommendations relating to any competition matter. This can take place without a formal referral from the public authorities, whenever the CANC considers it necessary. For example, the CANC can initiate discussions on the current legal or regulatory texts, or take any necessary measures to improve the functioning of a given market. This power is fundamental as it enables the CANC to act as “watchdog,” able to raise the alarm in advance of having to take more repressive measures.

30. Regarding sectoral enquiries, the CANC has the power to make recommendations to the GNC for specific measures to be taken to improve competition. This permits the CANC to communicate with public authorities and with business regarding the state of the market in question or of the legislation, with a view to improving competitive conditions.

31. All formal findings and recommendations of the CANC are for publication on the website of the Authority and in the OJ of NC.

1.2 High demand on the Authority for consultation in its first three months

32. Between the 2nd of March and 15th of September, the CANC has been called upon twelve times to pronounce an opinion. At the time of writing, seven Opinions and one Recommendation have been published [24].

33. The first Opinion (’Avis’) was issued on the 3rd of May following the request from the GNC regarding the creation of the Rural Agency which, from 1 January 2019, will merge the present Agricultural and Food Price Regulation Agency (Établissement de régulation des prix agricoles et agroalimentaires—ERPA) and the Agency for the prevention of and compensation for agricultural and natural disasters (Agence pour la prévention et l’indemnisation des calamités agricoles ou naturelles – APICAN).

34. The CANC observed that formally recorded agriculture is in decline, the number of agricultural businesses having fallen by 20% in ten years and their workforce almost halving. Furthermore, the land exploited for food production has fallen 25% between 2000 and 2013, especially in the north of the main island and the outlying islands. The volume of market output varies greatly according to sector, with the rate of self-sufficiency decreasing overall, while there has been a rise in the value of market output correlated with the increase in retail prices. This sector, which is highly regulated and increasingly subsidized, is characterized by an entanglement of competencies that can, of itself, create or reinforce distortions of competition.

35. While agricultural and competition policies pursue objectives often perceived as antagonistic, the CANC has discussed with the GNC and advised on how to reconcile these two public policy domains, making four recommendations. [25] These include proposals for:

  •  an explicit mission for the new Agency to consider the interests of consumers and their protection, and for that interest to be represented on the new Agency’s Board;
  •  rules regarding transparency including reporting back annually on the effects of import quotas recommended by the Agency, and reporting on the distribution of assistance by the Agency including the beneficiaries;
  •  rationalization within the Agency of all the aids to agriculture in the form of a common agricultural policy for the territory including if possible those aids currently distributed by the provincial administrations, with a view to favouring investment over price support.

36. This was followed by two further requests from government on the 17th of May regarding intended amendments to legislation (loi du pays) relating to price regulation and control of margins in the context of the application of the new General Consumption Tax (Taxe générale à la consommation—TGC). This resulted in nine recommendations. [26] These included:

  •  Rather than a mechanism for capping margins or for general price regulation (including provisions for wholesale price notification), the CANC recommended a procedure for sanctions against “manifestly excessive” prices set against the October 2017 level, having taken into account the variations attributable to the introduction of the TGC. This recommendation is modelled on the reform introduced in Australia in 1999 when the General Sales Tax (GST) was introduced.
  •  Companies found to be charging excessively should be able to make undertakings within a two-month deadline under threat of severe sanctions including the publication of adverse findings.
  •  Information on the permissible level of prices following TGC should be made available to inform businesses and consumers, in particular a “double price indication” showing expected prices before and after TGC.
  •  More explicit criteria need to be developed in the local Commercial Code, for the selection of products subject to price controls, concentrating on those where competition is least possible.

37. In the event of the GNC deciding to cap margins as proposed upon the application of TGC, the CANC recommended:

  •  reducing the period of control from eighteen months as proposed, to six months with a possible six-month extension on review;
  •  replacement of penal sanctions by administrative sanctions, raised to a more dissuasive level.

38. In the event of retention of price controls, faced with a “manifestly excessive price trend”:

  •  This key concept in the loi du pays of “dérive sur les prix manifestement excessive” should be broken down by product category rather than linked to the general price index;
  •  The elaboration of a methodology is needed to calculate whether or not a price is excessive, bearing in mind the approach taken by Australia between 1999 and 2002 following the introduction of the GST;
  •  Annual price reduction commitments by companies could be accepted and failing that, price caps levied for six months in the event that alternative methods proved ineffective.

39. Since 2th march 2018, CANC also gave Opinions concerning the supply chain for fruit and vegetables, the price of Jasmin rice, the price structure of gasoline and diesel [27].

40. A further request for investigation has been made by the small and medium business federation (Confédération des petites et moyennes entreprises—CPME) and the investigation is under way regarding the anti-competitive effect of regulation for judicial agents for the recovery and liquidation of companies.

41. At the time of writing, the sectoral investigation has not yet begun.

2. Anti-competitive practices: Ex post control

2.1 Prohibited practices

42. In line with its mandate for economic regulation, the CANC investigates anti-competitive practices which generate unfair profits to the detriment of other businesses (whether clients or suppliers), consumers and the economy in general.

43. Apart from specific legal dispositions, prices of goods and services are determined by open competition (Article Lp. 410-2) and so a priori any obstacle is considered to be anti-competitive.

44. Such practices include cartels (Article Lp. 421-1), abuse of dominant position (Article Lp. 421-2), exclusive import agreements (Article Lp. 421-2-1), abuse of economic dependence of a commercial partner (Article Lp. 421-2), or predatory pricing (Article Lp. 421-5).

45. Cartels (“ententes”) are characterized by coordinated action between independent businesses in concert, rather than as an independent commercial strategy as required under the law. Among such practices prohibited by law are: obstacles to market entry for potential new competitors, exchanges of price information, market-sharing agreements, to take just some examples.

46. In contrast to cartels, which are usually bilateral or multilateral, the abuses of dominant position are generally unilateral practices by a single actor, seeking to squeeze out existing competitors, or prevent the arrival of new ones. Such abuses can take different forms, such as predatory pricing, tied sales, refusal of sale, exclusivity agreements, etc.

47. The Commercial Code for NC also prohibits the abusive exploitation of economic dependence on the part of a client business or supplier with no alternative course of action.

48. As with the other French overseas territories, agreements or practices with the intention or effect of setting up exclusive import agreements for one or several businesses, are prohibited in NC (Article Lp. 421-2-1), unless the instigators can justify them on the basis of economic efficiency resulting in benefits shared equitably by consumers (Article Lp. 421-4-IV).

49. Furthermore, abusively low consumer prices (calculated on the basis of cost of manufacture and bringing products to market), also amount to anti-competitive practice prohibited by Article Lp. 421-5 of the local Commercial Code in as much as they are intended to inhibit market entry by a rival company or product.

50. All of these practices can result in the application of sanctions by the CANC in line with Article Lp. 464-2 of the Commercial Code. The Authority may likewise order the parties to desist within a stated deadline or may impose specific conditions. The CANC can apply a monetary sanction, either immediately or, in due course in the event of non-respect of undertakings or injunctions. The maximum sanction is 175,000 F.CFP (€1,500) [28] for a physical person and 5% of the turnover attributable to the NC market for businesses since the practices in question have been under way. The CANC can order the publication, diffusion or display of the decision (or relevant extracts). The monetary sanction must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence, and to the extent of economic damage caused, the situation of the business in question and any reoccurrence of the prohibited practices.

51. Besides, any commitment or contractual agreement setting up an illegal agreement, an abuse of dominant position or position of economic dependence or exclusive import agreement is considered null and void under Article Lp. 421-3.

52. Finally, any person taking part personally in such practices is subject to a fine up to 8.5 million F.CFP (€70,000) (Article Lp. 421-6). The extent of the fine can be made public at the discretion of the court.

2.2 Structural injunction

53. The competition provisions of the loi du pays no 2013-8 of 23 October 2013 introduced the possibility for the GNC, and henceforward the CANC, to let be known their concerns about competition in the context of relatively high prices or high margins applied by a given business (or group) occupying a dominant position in a given sector. Alternatively, in the retail sector, the trigger for an enquiry could be when a business or group held more than 25% market share in the catchment area concerned and with a turnover of over 600 million F.CFP (€5 million).

54. The business (or businesses) concerned could offer undertakings to take effect within two months to meet such concerns. After the deadline, if the CANC considers the undertakings to have been insufficient, the Authority can enjoin the businesses to “modify, complete or give up (…) all agreements and actions through which economic weight has been acquired sufficient to lead to the practices identified in terms of price or margin. CANC may, in these conditions, enjoin the business to cease its activities if this constitutes the only means to guarantee effective competition.”

55. This possibility of ex post intervention, known as “structural injunction” (injonction structurelle) is codified in Article Lp. 422-1 of the local Commercial Code. The Caledonian legislators were inspired by the equivalent mechanism for intervention established in other French overseas territories by loi no 2012-1270 of 20 November 2012 regarding economic regulation overseas (the “loi Lurel”), most recently amended by loi no 2015-990 of 6 August 2015 for activity and equality of economic activity (the “loi Macron”), codified as Article L.752-27 in the metropolitan Commercial Code.

56. This has led to the widening of the mechanisms available in metropolitan France and the overseas territories. Furthermore, the structural injunction in NC is not limited to a single retail sector unlike the structural injunction in the other overseas territories. The Authority therefore finds it possible to intervene in case of “high prices or margins,” whatever the economic sector concerned, as soon as a dominant business (or group) behaves in a certain way, or in the retail sector, as soon as a business or group arrives at 25% market share with a turnover of over 600 million F.CFP.

2.3 Gradual establishment of the CANC operations


57. At the time of writing, CANC uses its power of self-referral (auto-saisine) twice. CANC pronounced one Recommendation about the provisions of the Commercial Code relating to prices and free competition the 5th of June 2018 [29] and is currently conducting a self-initiated investigation into market protection regulations.

However, the CANC intends to be proactive and to take advantage of the opportunity to investigate sectors in which competition appears not to be working (at least not optimally) for reasons of market failure, regulations leading to barriers to entry and other factors.

External referral

58. Between the 2nd of March and 15th of September 2018, the CANC registered four complaints brought forward by businesses.. As yet, neither the GNC nor other bodies with the facility to denounce prohibited practices (or point to evidence that might be so construed) have taken advantage of this procedure.

59. Referrals can be accompanied by demands for precautionary measures under Article Lp. 461-1 of the local Commercial Code. For such measures to be taken, the facts brought to light should appear susceptible to classification as practices in contravention of Articles Lp. 421-1 or Lp. 421-2 of the Commercial Code, causing grave and immediate prejudice to the economy in general, to the relevant sector, to the interests of consumers or to the interests of the business bringing the complaint.

60. The standstill measures have limited objectives. They consist of an instruction to the businesses concerned to suspend the practice concerned or to revert to the status quo ante. The Authority is not bound by the demands of the complainants and can take whatever measures it deems necessary. If the measures are not respected, the Authority can issue monetary sanctions.

61. Up to the present, one demand for standstill measures has been formulated in support of a proposal for referral. As the procedures are under way at the time of writing, no sanctions have yet been identified.

2.4 No contestation of grievances and Immunity program

62. When a business does not dispute the reality of the complaints notified to it, the maximum amount of the sanction incurred may be reduced by half on the proposal of the general rapporteur. When the company or organization further commits itself to modify its behaviour for the future, the general rapporteur may propose to the competition authority of New Caledonia to also take it into account when setting the amount of the sanction (III of Article Lp. 464-2 of the Commercial code). This is called the “no contestation of grievances” procedure.

63. Besides, CANC has a leniency program. Indeed, a total or partial exemption from pecuniary sanctions may be granted to a business which has, with others, implemented an Illegal cartel if it contributed to establish the reality of the prohibited practice and to identify its authors, by bringing elements of information whose authority or the administration did not have previously (IV of Article Lp. 464-2 of the Commercial code).

3. Concentrations and extensions in the retail sector: Ex ante control

3.1 Ex ante control of proposed concentrations and extensions of retail spaces

64. The CANC exercises control over concentrations and operations in the retail sector relevant to the thresholds established by the local Commercial Code. Such controls concern:

  •  acquisitions and mergers and joint ventures where the total turnover in NC exceeds 600 million F.CFP and where at least two of the companies concerned have a business in NC;
  •  proposals to open retail outlets or to extend retail spaces, change commercial brands or change economic sector where existing premises are acquired by a new owner and where the size of the premises exceeds 350m2.

65. According to Articles Lp. 431-3 (concentrations) and Lp. 432-2 (retail businesses) of the local Commercial Code, businesses which engage in these types of operation should submit their proposals to the CANC.

66. Once notified, the Authority proceeds to an examination, of varying degrees of elaboration according to the complexity of the file. [30] If the proposal does not pose any particular difficulty in terms of competition or if undertakings presented by those concerned resolve the issues, the operation can be authorized with or without further undertakings by the use of a rapid investigation, known as Phase 1. The decision is presented by the president of the CANC within a deadline of twenty-five working days from the receipt of the full notification.

67. If a serious doubt regarding competition persists after this phase, the CANC may open a second phase with a view to a deeper analysis. The CANC examines whether the operation will damage competition through the creation or reinforcement of dominant position such as that which will place suppliers in a position of economic dependence. The enquiry examines whether the operation is justified by efficiency gains compensating for any limitations on competition. At the end of the enquiry (which can last for one hundred days from notification), the Authority renders a collegiate decision which may range from authorizing the operation without particular conditions, or on condition of undertakings being made, or refusing authorization.

Citation of public interest by the government of NC

68. Exceptionally, the government can cite the public interest (“évocation d’une affaire”) as long as a strategic dimension is invoked. In such a case it can bypass the decision of the independent CANC, for motives of general interest other than competition (industrial development, competitivity of business faced with international competition, creation or protection of employment).

Decisions in case of non-respect of undertakings made with respect to concentrations

69. In case of non-respect of undertakings mentioned in a decision laid down with regard to a commercial concentration, the Authority must identify such non-respect. At that point, the decision authorizing a concentration can be withdrawn or the parties can be required to honour the commitments made, or financial sanctions can be ordered. Businesses failing to carry out their obligations or who carry out a non-authorized operation run the risk of an exaction amounting to 5% of daily turnover for every day’s delay.

70. Such a sanction has yet to be applied for non-respect of an undertaking with regard to operations in the retail sector. Reform on this point is expected.

Publication of operations notified to the Authority

71. As soon as an operation leading to concentration is notified to the CANC, this information is published on its website during the five working days following notification. Publication is intended for interested third parties with a view to their formulating any observations they may have.

Recourse against decisions

72. Interested parties (including third parties) have two months to bring forward recourse for annulation or revision of a decision before the Administrative Court of Nouméa. Reform is also envisaged so that recourse can be taken directly to the administrative court of appeal in Paris.

3.2 The pace of notifications to the CANC

73. Between the 2nd of March and 15th of September 2018, the Authority received eleven notifications of operations falling within its competence regarding the control of market structures:

  • four notifications of operations leading to commercial concentration;
  • seven notifications of operations within the retail sector.

74. Extrapolating forward on the basis of the volume of cases notified during the first three months of operations, the Authority anticipates fifteen notifications during the second semester of 2018.

75. By 15th September 2018, the CANC has authorized two concentrations and seven operations within the retail sector which raised no problems in terms of competition [31].

76. The Authority is monitoring the progress of corrective measures adopted within the frame of four government decrees of which two relate to the opening of hypermarkets in greater Nouméa and two to operations involving concentrations implicating Caledonian businesses with dominant positions in certain markets. None of the decisions adopted so far by the Authority are conditional on corrective measures given an absence so far of problems related to competition in the operations notified.

77. For undertakings, the monitoring of their progress is set out in the letter annexed to the government order. The parties delegate the process to an appointed agent charged with surveillance of the execution of the undertakings and reporting to the relevant authority, or even to carry out the sale of certain operations if necessary.

78. With a view to verification of respect for the corrective measures, the investigation service of the CANC can address requests for information to the parties (including third parties) and can scrutinize the reports of the appointed agent and any information brought to its attention spontaneously by any other party.

IV. Conclusion

79. After six months of activity, the CANC has already made its mark. Although it has not yet used all of its powers, it intends to play an active role to boost competition in New Caledonia in order to contribute to local growth and the improvement of the welfare of local residents, including as consumers. This is a big challenge for the new competition kid in the Pacific block.

An overview of the Australian competition law regime

Rod Sims
Chairman, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Canberra

I. Introduction

1. From the implementation of the Trade Practices Act in 1974, to the most recent amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 following the Harper Review, Australia has sought to foster a competition regime that dynamically reflects the circumstances and needs of the Australian economy.

2. The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA or the Act—known until 2010 as the Trade Practices Act 1974) is the foundation of the Australian competition regime. Its objectives are to enhance the welfare of Australians through the promotion of competition and fair trade, while also providing for the protection of consumers. These objectives are underpinned by substantive provisions which prohibit unfair trade practices, cartel conduct, abuse of market power, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

3. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is Australia’s peak competition and consumer protection agency. It was established in 1995. The ACCC is tasked with administering and enforcing the CCA. The Australian competition regime follows a judicial model; the ACCC does not have the direct power to make final determinative findings of infringement, but rather, the ACCC investigates potential breaches and where necessary brings enforcement action in the Federal Court of Australia. The ACCC also plays an important role in the legal regime established by Part IIIA of the Act for third party access to declared services provided by infrastructure facilities that have monopoly characteristics (known as the National Access Regime). This includes arbitrating access disputes and assessing undertakings in relation to certain infrastructure services. [32]

4. The Australian competition regime mirrors the evolution of Australia’s economy, with significant changes occurring in times of shifting market pressures and changing economic thought. The National Competition Policy Report (the Hilmer Report) is an often-cited example. Commencing in the early 1990s, the Hilmer Report sought to develop a regime capable of preserving competition in an increasingly denationalised and deregulated economy. Its recommendations led to the formation of the ACCC, exposed all Australian businesses to the possibility of enforcement action for non-compliance, and required government business to compete on equal terms with their private sector rivals. These unprecedented changes transformed the Australian economy, leading to a 5% increase in GDP [33] and a demonstrably higher level of competition in the marketplace.

5. However, the Australian economy changed in a number of material respects in the two decades following Hilmer. Much of our manufacturing industry shifted overseas, while international trade and transition to an online economy places continuous pressure on domestic businesses to be competitive. In response, the Australian Government commissioned Professor Ian Harper in 2013 to consider whether “Australian competition regulation, policy and regulatory agencies are effective in protecting and facilitating competition, providing incentives for innovation and creativity in business and meeting world’s best practice.”

6. This root and branch review of Australian competition law and policy (the Harper Review) led to fifty-six recommendations, including the introduction of a highly debated “effects test” to the prohibition on abuse of dominance (known in Australia as “misuse of market power”). In line with the Harper recommendations, two Acts of Parliament were passed: the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Act 2017, which implemented the effects test, and the Competition and the Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Act 2017. This latter Act implemented a significant number of other Harper recommendations, most notably to amend the misuse of market power law and to introduce a prohibition on concerted practices. The ACCC has issued guidance to the public on its proposed interpretation of these laws. [34]

7. Other reforms included changes to legislation relating to cartels, exclusionary provisions, secondary boycotts, third line forcing, retail price maintenance, authorisation and notifications, class exemptions, and access regimes.

8. In the wake of these extensive and important amendments, the ACCC now has an increased ability to target conduct which harms the Australian economy and it is hoped that the revamped laws will boost growth and enhance the benefits which flow to consumers and businesses when markets operate efficiently. This paper seeks to provide a broad overview of the competition regime in Australia at the present time, in relation to the following areas:

  • Restrictive agreements
  • Unilateral practices/abuses of dominant position
  • Authorisation and notification
  • Public enforcement
  • The ACCC’s immunity policy
  • Market studies and inquiries
  • Private enforcement
  • Merger regulation

II. Restrictive agreements 

9. Australia’s core competition law provisions are found in Part IV of the CCA. These provisions constitute the ACCC’s major tools for protecting and enhancing competition, enabling it to target practices which are contrary to the stated objectives of the Act.

10. Restrictive agreements between parties which harm the state of competition in a market may be caught by one, or potentially more, of the provisions of Part IV, which contains a range of prohibitions including:

  • Section 45 (anti-competitive agreements)
  • Sections 45AA–45AU (cartels)
  • Sections 45D–45E (secondary boycotts)
  • Section 46 (misuse of market power)
  • Section 47 (exclusive dealing)
  • Section 48 (resale price maintenance)

11. Under the legislation, some restrictive agreements will be deemed to be illegal per se while in other cases, it must be shown that there is a purpose or likely effect of substantially lessening competition. In some circumstances authorisation may be available for the conduct.

12. Cartel conduct is universally recognised as one of the most harmful forms of restrictive agreement, and one of the most difficult to detect. [35] Under the CCA it is both a civil contravention and a criminal offence. [36] Individuals found guilty of cartel conduct face significant fines and jail time, and corporations face large fines. As the CCA provides for private actions, corporations are also liable for compensation to customers who suffer loss as a result of a cartel. This regime reflects the serious harm cartels cause consumers, businesses, and the economy in the form of increased prices and reduced choice, or through the distortion of ordinary processes of innovation and product development.

13. Presently, cartel conduct is defined in section 45AD to include the following forms of restrictive agreements:

  • price-fixing
  • market sharing
  • controlling output
  • bid rigging

14. An agreement will be illegal cartel conduct where there has been a “contract, arrangement or understanding” between two or more parties who are competitors (or who would be, but for the conduct). Price-fixing agreements must contain a provision which has the “purpose or effect” of price fixing. Conduct which meets the criteria of the CCA will be deemed illegal per se and the ACCC will seek to refer serious [37] cartel conduct for criminal prosecution by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) wherever possible. [38] Exceptions to the prohibitions on price fixing exist for situations such as joint production or supply, and for certain agreements which support the collective acquisition of goods or services. Agreements between related companies are also exempted.

15. Restrictive agreements which do not satisfy the strict definition of a “cartel” may be pursued under section 45 of the CCA. Section 45 prohibits contracts, arrangements, understandings, or concerted practices that have the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a market. These types of restrictive agreements will generally be horizontal in nature. Although vertical arrangements can also be caught, the CCA’s anti-overlap provisions mean that vertical conduct which meets the criteria of the more specific prohibitions (in sections 47 and 48—see below) cannot be pursued under section 45.

16. The scope of section 45 was broadened to encompass concerted practices only recently in November 2017. This followed the Harper recommendation to repeal specific price signalling laws from the CCA which applied only to the banking sector, and to introduce a prohibition of concerted practices which substantially lessen competition. While the term “concerted practice” is not defined, a concerted practice is described within the Explanatory Memorandum of the Competition and Consumer (Competition Policy Reform) Act 2017 as being: “(…) any form of cooperation between two or more firms (or people) or conduct that would be likely to establish such cooperation, where this conduct substitutes, or would be likely to substitute, cooperation in the place of the uncertainty of competition.” [39]

17. The more specific prohibitions mentioned above, found in sections 47 and 48 of the CCA, are the primary provisions which apply to vertical restraints. Neither of these provisions are based around an “agreement” between parties, as in sections 45 and 45AD, but rather are framed around the supply and acquisition of goods or services.

18. Section 47 prohibits businesses from exclusive dealing, which occurs when one party trading with another imposes restrictions on the other’s freedom to choose with whom, in what, or where they deal. This form of conduct includes third line forcing, which arises when a party will only supply goods or services, or give a particular price or discount only if the purchaser buys goods or services from a particular third party. Exclusive dealing is illegal only when it substantially lessens competition in the relevant market. This legal test is aligned with overseas jurisdictions such as Canada, the European Union, the United States, and New Zealand, all of whom apply similar tests for conduct of this nature.

19. The practice known in Australia as resale price maintenance—where a supplier seeks to pressure a seller to charge a recommended retail price or any other set price, or prevents a seller from advertising, displaying, or selling their product below a certain price—is prohibited by section 48.

III. Unilateral practices and abuses of dominant position

20. One of the most important and long-awaited changes to Australia’s competition regime arrived in the form of amendments to section 46, the provision in the CCA which deals with abuses of a dominant position.

21. The former provision, which required a firm with substantial market power to take advantage of its market power for a proscribed anti-competitive purpose, made it difficult for the ACCC to deal with a range of behaviour by powerful firms in various parts of the value chain, who were preventing competitors from competing on their merits.

22. Following the 2017 amendments (refer above), section 46 was reframed to apply to conduct with the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition, directly aligning the provision with the intent of protecting the competitive process rather than individual firms. Preventing firms with a substantial degree of market power from engaging in conduct which has the purpose, effect, or likely effect of substantially lessening competition, is now a central limb of Australia’s competition regime, in line with international practice.

IV. Authorisation and notification

23. Where businesses are concerned that their proposed conduct may contravene the competition provisions of the CCA, they can seek “authorisation” from the ACCC. If the ACCC is satisfied that the relevant legal test is met and grants authorisation, this removes the risk of legal action under the competition provisions in relation to the proposed conduct.

24. The ACCC may also grant class exemptions to exempt certain types of conduct from the competition provisions. This removes the need for businesses to lodge individual applications for authorisation or notifications with the ACCC regarding the specified conduct. Once a class exemption is in place, businesses may self-assess whether their proposed conduct falls within the exemption’s terms.

25. Authorisation is available for all forms of conduct prohibited by Part IV of the CCA, and will be granted where the ACCC is satisfied that the conduct:

  •  would not be likely to substantially lessen competition; and
  • would result in a public benefit that would outweigh any detriment caused by the conduct. [40]

26. Notification is an alternative process to allow certain conduct that would otherwise be prohibited. It is available where parties propose to engage in small business collective bargaining, exclusive dealing, or resale price maintenance. Notification will prevent the parties involved in the conduct from legal action, unless the ACCC revokes the notification on competition/public benefit grounds.

V. Public enforcement

27. The ACCC does not have the power to decide whether there has been a contravention of the CCA, nor to impose a pecuniary penalty. Rather, the ACCC will investigate potential breaches of the law using its statutory powers to obtain evidence, and will institute legal proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia to seek remedies and penalties where appropriate.

28. Legal action initiated by the ACCC [41] for breaches of Part IV of the CCA may result in a wide range of court orders including:

  •  imposing pecuniary penalties on corporations [42] and/or individuals [43]
  • making declarations that a company or individual has contravened the law
  • making injunctions restraining current or future conduct
  • requiring respondents to publish corrective advertising or notices
  • making orders to achieve financial redress for consumers or businesses harmed by the conduct
  • making various other behavioural orders, including community service or probation orders, or orders for implementing a compliance or an education and training program
  • making orders disqualifying individuals from being directors of corporations
  • imposing prison sentences for criminal cartel conduct.

29. Formal legal action is not always the most appropriate way for the ACCC to deal with anti-competitive conduct, so matters may also be addressed in less formal ways that are expedient and proportionate. The ACCC has discretion over the way it pursues breaches of the law, which allows it to respond flexibly.

30. The ACCC can resolve concerns about anti-competitive conduct through:

  •  administrative resolutions, which are informal agreements with parties to remedy problematic conduct, or
  • court enforceable undertakings. [44] These are placed on the public record and can be enforced in the court if the undertaking is breached. Undertakings commonly involve an agreement to cease conduct, take agreed steps to remedy harm caused by conduct and establish processes to improve the entity’s practices.

VI. The ACCC’s immunity policy

31. As would be expected, the cooperation of key individuals can be central to the success of an ACCC investigation. This is especially true in relation to cartels, because the typically covert nature of cartel behaviour makes it very difficult to detect without disclosure from those involved. Recognising the importance of cooperation in detecting, investigating and prosecuting cartel matters, the ACCC, like many other competition authorities around the world, offers cartel participants immunity from prosecution or civil proceedings in exchange for disclosure of the cartel and cooperation during the investigation and subsequent prosecution or other court proceedings.

32. The ACCC’s Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (Immunity Policy) allows cartel participants, as either corporations or individuals, to seek both civil and criminal immunity in respect of cartel conduct. [45] Corporations seeking immunity can also request derivative immunity for related corporate entities and/or for current and former directors or officers involved in the cartel.

33. The ACCC’s Immunity Policy sets out the process and criteria for obtaining immunity. Notably, the applicant must be the first person or corporation seeking immunity in respect of the particular cartel, must admit their participation in the cartel, and must fully cooperate by providing full, frank and truthful disclosure during the investigation, and any ensuing legal proceedings. The policy also applies to parties involved in a cartel who cooperate with the ACCC but do not qualify for full immunity. In this case, penalties and other sanctions that would be imposed would take account into material cooperation and ongoing assistance by that party and are therefore lower than would otherwise have been imposed.

VII. Inquiries and market studies

34. By carrying out formal inquiries and informal market studies into various sectors of the Australian economy, the ACCC is able to support competition by identifying issues which may prevent markets from delivering efficient outcomes, and if required, propose options to address these issues.

35. Under the CCA the ACCC can be directed by the relevant government minister to undertake in-depth inquiries into certain matters. [46] These formal inquiries involve extensive investigation and analysis, including public consultation. Upon completion of the inquiry, the ACCC will publish a report detailing its findings.

36. Formal inquiries initiated in this way come with compulsory information-gathering powers drawn from the Act. For example, the ACCC is able to require the production of documents and information, and summon any person to appear and give evidence under oath or affirmation. If a person who is summoned fails to attend, or they refuse to answer a question at the inquiry without a reasonable excuse, [47] criminal penalties can apply.

37. The ACCC has held several high-profile inquiries under Part VIIA of the CCA. [48] These include inquiries about:

  •  unleaded petrol prices (2007)
  • grocery prices (2008)
  • Eastern and Southern Australia wholesale gas prices (2015)
  • the competitiveness of prices, trading practices and the supply chain in the Australian dairy industry (2016)

38. The ACCC is currently undertaking several other formal inquiries. These include an inquiry into the effect that digital platforms (like Facebook and Google) have upon competition in media and advertising services markets, as well as an inquiry into retail electricity supply and prices.

39. More recently, the ACCC has also initiated its own informal inquiries, or “market studies,” that involve in-depth market, sector, or industry reviews. The aim of market studies is to improve understanding of industry practices and dynamics. The ACCC publishes its findings to help inform consumers, encourage public debate over competition and consumer matters, and inform policy consideration. Compulsory information gathering powers are not available for such informal inquiries.

VIII. Private enforcement

40. While the ACCC is the primary enforcer of the CCA, the legislation also confers private enforcement rights on individuals. Any person who suffers loss or damage due to a contravention of the restrictive trade practices prohibitions of the CCA can recover the amount of their loss or damage in a private action against the party who committed the contravention. [49]

41. The claimant in a private action must establish that it has suffered loss on the balance of probabilities. It must also establish the necessary link between the contravention and the loss, and demonstrate the extent of its loss with as much certainty as is reasonable in the circumstances. [50] Section 82 of the CCA sets out the calculation of damages, and allows claimants to recover economic loss and consequential loss they have suffered. However, claimants cannot recover punitive, exemplary or nominal damages.

42. The ACCC is empowered by section 163A of the CCA to intervene (with leave of the Federal Court of Australia) in any private proceedings instituted under the CCA. In applying to intervene, the ACCC generally will seek to provide the court with a broader perspective than that of private litigants.

43. The ACCC generally only intervenes in cases involving significant public interest. For example, if it involves an issue of general public importance, [51] or potential for a major detrimental effect on fair trading and competitive market forces. In these situations, the ACCC may wish to make submissions to preserve the competitive process and prevent future contraventions of the law.

IX. Merger regulation

44. Merger regulation is a fundamental element of Australia’s competition regime. Section 50 of the CCA prohibits acquisitions of shares or assets that result in, or are likely to result in, a substantial lessening of competition in a market. There is no requirement that a controlling interest be acquired in order to trigger this prohibition.

45. Section 50 of the CCA is designed to allow the ACCC to take injunctive action when a merger threatens to substantially lessen competition in a market. Its aim is to preserve competitive markets and market participants’ incentives to compete rather than rely on ex post regulation of anti-competitive conduct. The ACCC is committed to maintain a merger review process which is streamlined, flexible and transparent, and which can deal with problematic mergers effectively for the benefit of consumers and economic efficiency.

46. The substantial lessening of competition test in section 50 has been in force since 1992 (formerly the test was one of “dominance”). It is recognised under the section 50 test that not all mergers are harmful, many are neutral or in some cases beneficial to competition. It is essential to have an active market for corporate control to ensure that inefficient owners and managers are replaced by more efficient ones. Accordingly, section 50 aims to capture only those transactions which raise substantial competition issues.

47. Subsection 50(3) sets out a non-exhaustive list of factors which must be considered by the court when assessing whether or not competition would be substantially lessened as a result of a merger or acquisition:

  • the actual and potential level of import competition in the market
  • the height of barriers to entry to the market
  • the level of concentration in the market
  • the degree of countervailing power in the market
  • the likelihood that the acquisition would result in the acquirer being able to significantly and sustainably increase prices or profit margins
  • the extent to which substitutes are available in the market or are likely to be available in the market
  • the dynamic characteristics of the market, including growth, innovation and product differentiation
  • the likelihood that the acquisition would result in the removal from the market of a vigorous and effective competitor, and
  • the nature and extent of vertical integration in the market.

48. In Australia, there is no compulsory pre-merger notification process. The ACCC’s indicative notification threshold (where the products of the merger parties are either substitutes or complements; and the merged firm will have a post-merger market share of greater than 20% in the relevant markets) is intended to provide a starting point for identifying those mergers that may raise competition concerns and therefore require investigation.

49. Nonetheless, merger parties have the option of proceeding with a merger without seeking any regulatory consideration. This will not prevent the ACCC from subsequently investigating the merger, including making public inquiries to assist its investigation and, if necessary, taking legal action. Merger parties are therefore encouraged to approach the ACCC as soon as there is a real likelihood that a proposed acquisition may proceed, to discuss possible competition issues and options for having the matter considered. This may be done on a confidential basis.

50. Merger parties have two avenues available to have a proposed acquisition considered and assessed by the ACCC on competition grounds: informal merger review or merger authorisation.

51. The informal merger review process enables merger parties to seek the ACCC’s view on whether the proposed acquisition is likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition. It is important to note that a review under section 50 does not include any public interest test. There is no legislation underpinning the informal process, rather it has developed over time to provide an avenue for merger parties to seek the ACCC’s view prior to completion of a merger. An informal view by the ACCC not to oppose a merger does not provide the merger parties with protection from legal action by the ACCC or other parties.

52. Merger parties may choose to seek statutory protection from legal action under section 50 by lodging an application for merger authorisation. As a result of the Harper amendments, from 6 November 2017, the ACCC has been the first instance decision-maker for merger authorisation. While a merger authorisation is in force, the authorised parties will be able to acquire the relevant shares or assets without risk of the ACCC or third parties taking legal action for a contravention of section 50. Merger authorisation cannot be granted to acquisitions that have been completed.

53. The ACCC may not grant authorisation unless it is satisfied that either:

  • the proposed acquisition would not be likely to substantially lessen competition, or
  • the likely public benefit from the proposed acquisition outweighs the likely public detriment, including any lessening of competition.

54. The way in which the ACCC examines the likely impact of a merger is guided by well accepted and recognised economic principles. Broadly, there are two key theories of competitive harm examined: unilateral effects and coordinated effects. Unilateral effects occur when a firm has the ability and incentive to raise its prices or otherwise reduce its competitive behaviour independently of the reaction of other firms. Coordinated effects occur when some or all firms in the market have an incentive not to compete vigorously because they recognise their mutual interdependence and decide not to compete as aggressively as they otherwise would.

55. Once a review has been completed by the ACCC and its views are made known to the merger parties, if the ACCC has concluded that it has competition concerns, parties have a number of courses of action open to them:

  • to accept the views of the ACCC and not proceed with the merger
  • to attempt to address the ACCC’s concerns by submitting a variation to the proposed transaction, most often by the process of court enforceable undertakings
  • to test the ACCC’s view by proceeding with the merger and challenging the ACCC to seek an injunction in the court
  • to test the ACCC’s view by seeking a declaration from the court that the merger would not breach section 50.

56. When the ACCC publicly reviews a merger, notice of the review and key information about the review are published on the ACCC’s public website. The ACCC retains an up-to-date list of each active public review, including details of the transaction, the ACCC’s indicative timetable, and key milestones in the investigation.

X. Conclusion

57. The ACCC is an independent Commonwealth statutory authority whose role is to enforce the CCA and a range of additional legislation. While there have been a number of recent changes made to the CCA as a result of the Harper Review’s recommendations, the ACCC’s mandate remains the same: promote competition, protect consumer rights, promote the efficient use of and investment in infrastructure, and make markets work for the benefit of all Australians.

Le droit polynésien de la concurrence : Un premier bilan de l’Autorité polynésienne de la concurrence

Stéphane Retterer
Rapporteur public, Tribunal administratif de la Polynésie française, Papeete

Antonino Troianiello
Maître de conférences de droit public, Université de la Polynésie française, Tahiti

1. Depuis l’autonomie de la Polynésie française, consacrée par la loi no 84-820 du 6 septembre 1984 et surtout par l’actuelle loi organique du 27 février 2004, les juridictions administratives, judiciaires et la chambre territoriale des comptes en tant que magistrature d’influence ont été les seuls régulateurs de la concurrence sur le territoire, avec des résultats à tout le moins limités.

2. Façonnée dans le prolongement de l’après-CEP (Centre d’expérimentation du Pacifique), l’économie polynésienne présente les traits d’une économie insulaire fortement administrée où l’interventionnisme domine et où la structure des différents marchés, réglementés, concentrés, monopolistiques ou oligopolistiques, tels les secteurs des transports, de la poste et des télécommunications, ou de l’énergie, favorise les ententes sectorielles, les abus de position dominante et les marges excessives au détriment des consommateurs. Dans ce contexte, les pouvoirs publics se sont efforcés de juguler la cherté de la vie par une réglementation des prix qui, si elle conserve une certaine utilité, montre aujourd’hui certaines limites.

3. Si le droit de la concurrence s’est si longuement fait attendre, c’est notamment en raison de l’inapplicabilité du droit national de la concurrence – et a fortiori du droit européen – en Polynésie française liée au statut d’autonomie de cette collectivité de la République [52]. C’est donc logiquement une modification de la loi organique statutaire, intervenue le 1er août 2011, qui a permis de remédier à cette situation en autorisant la Polynésie française à instituer une autorité administrative indépendante aux fins d’exercer des missions de régulation dans le secteur économique (article 30-1).

4. Le droit de la concurrence souhaité par une grande partie des opérateurs économiques et des institutions locales a ainsi pu voir le jour. Un code polynésien de la concurrence et une autorité polynésienne de la concurrence (ci-après l’“APC”) ont ainsi été créés par les lois du pays no 2015-2 du 23 février 2015 et no 2015-4 du 14 avril 2015. On ne soulignera sans doute jamais assez le caractère novateur de l’institution de l’APC, constituant la première autorité indépendante créée au sein et par une collectivité territoriale.

5. Inspiré du modèle national, le droit polynésien de la concurrence comporte classiquement un volet préventif (contrôle des concentrations) et un volet répressif (répression des pratiques anticoncurrentielles). Il comporte aussi “un petit droit de la concurrence”, prohibant notamment certaines pratiques restrictives de concurrence.

6. À côté de ces dispositions classiques, le code polynésien de la concurrence présente également quelques spécificités liées au contexte ultramarin. Est ainsi prévu un mécanisme d’autorisation préalable à l’ouverture de surfaces commerciales.

7. De même, le droit polynésien de la concurrence prohibait initialement l’abus de dépendance économique. Conformément aux dispositions de la loi “Lurel” no 2012-1270 du 20 novembre 2012 relative à la régulation économique outre-mer prise par le gouvernement français, il prohibait aussi les accords ou pratiques ayant pour objet ou pour effet d’accorder des droits exclusifs d’importation et créait le pouvoir d’injonction structurelle permettant à l’autorité de la concurrence de sanctionner une position dominante alors même qu’aucun abus n’est constaté.

8. Pourtant, au bout de trois ans d’existence, le droit polynésien de la concurrence a connu une première réforme avec la loi du pays no 2018-21 du 9 août 2018 supprimant la prohibition des accords exclusifs d’importation, l’abus de dépendance économique et réduisant le pouvoir d’injonction structurelle conféré à l’autorité de la concurrence. Une procédure de clémence à l’égard des entreprises a été instituée. Cette réforme illustre les craintes que le droit de la concurrence suscite chez certains politiques et certaines entreprises locales influentes de la Polynésie française.

9. L’APC, qui dispose du pouvoir d’autosaisine (art. LP 620-5 du cc), a rendu, depuis 2016, quinze avis, dix décisions en droit des concentrations, deux décisions relatives à l’implantation de magasins de commerce de détail, une décision en matière de pratique anticoncurrentielle.

10. Parmi les avis intéressants, nous pouvons citer, l’avis no 2016-A-03 du 9 décembre 2016 sur le projet de loi réglementant les activités professionnelles liées à la production et à la commercialisation des produits perliers et nacriers (I.). Parmi les décisions marquantes, deux d’entre elles méritent une attention particulière. L’une est relative au droit des concentrations (II.), l’autre constitue la première décision relative à un abus de position dominante (III.).

I. Fonction consultative : L’avis du 9 décembre 2016 relatif à l’activité de la perliculture

11. Le code de la concurrence crée une obligation de consultation de l’APC par le président de la Polynésie française pour toute loi et réglementation en liaison avec le fonctionnement concurrentiel des marchés. Les présidents de la Polynésie française et de l’assemblée peuvent encore consulter l’autorité de la concurrence sur toute question portant sur la concurrence (art. LP 620-1 et 620-2 du cc). L’APC peut décider de sa propre initiative de rendre un avis afin de recommander au gouvernement de mettre en œuvre les mesures nécessaires à l’amélioration du fonctionnement concurrentiel des marchés (art. LP 620-4 du cc).

12. L’autorité polynésienne a été consultée, de manière obligatoire, conformément au texte, sur le projet de loi du pays relatif à l’activité de perliculture en Polynésie française, qui représente 3 000 emplois et 80 % des exportations de la Polynésie, correspondant au deuxième secteur économique le plus important du territoire, après le tourisme.

13. Le projet de loi du pays visait à améliorer l’organisation et la qualité de la production tout en préservant les milieux naturels dans le cadre du développement durable et à instituer des outils de régulation de la production en fixant notamment des quotas de production attribués à chaque exploitation et en mettant en place un suivi des stocks aux différentes étapes de la production et de la commercialisation.

14. L’avis a formulé quatre recommandations substantielles sur le projet de loi du pays.

  •  La première recommandation, alors que les activités économiques sont encore lourdement administrées en Polynésie, correspondait plutôt à une mise en garde vis-à-vis du régime d’autorisation temporaire du domaine public maritime, qui ne doit pas aboutir à privilégier les opérateurs en place au détriment des nouveaux opérateurs.
  • La deuxième recommandation préconisait la suppression du régime d’autorisation d’exercice des activités de perliculture, au profit de l’instauration d’un régime déclaratif. Cette recommandation avait du sens, dès lors que les dispositions de la “loi du pays” tendaient à limiter l’exercice d’une activité économique. Ce régime d’autorisation s’adressait à tous les opérateurs de bout en bout de la chaîne, de la production à la vente au détail. Dans le sens de la recommandation, le Conseil d’État, saisi par une société de bijouterie, avait indiqué qu’en l’absence d’intérêt général invoqué, la Polynésie française ne justifiait pas que l’activité de détaillant bijoutier fasse l’objet d’un régime d’autorisation préalable au regard du principe de la liberté d’entreprendre. La disposition de la “loi du pays” a été déclarée illégale [53]. Cependant, sur ce point, la Polynésie française n’a pas cherché à réduire les contraintes administratives au regard du principe de la liberté d’entreprendre et de celui de la liberté du commerce et de l’industrie, alors que l’autorité de la concurrence encourageait le gouvernement de la Polynésie à le faire.
  •  La troisième recommandation visait le système de quota de production mis en place par la loi. L’APC a estimé que les règles de répartition des quotas individuels ne devaient pas être décidées autoritairement, mais de façon objective, transparente et non discriminatoires, afin d’éviter notamment que la fixation annuelle des quotas ne puisse impacter défavorablement les petits producteurs. Là encore, la recommandation de l’APC n’a pas vraiment été suivie.
  • Enfin la quatrième recommandation était particulièrement intéressante. En effet la “loi du pays” visait à libéraliser la vente au détail des rebuts de perles interdite par la précédente loi. Auparavant, la vente des rebuts de perles était interdite, et seuls les producteurs étaient indemnisés de cette interdiction de vente des biens. Les négociants de perles, qui n’étaient pas indemnisés et souhaitaient l’être, avaient obtenu gain de cause auprès du juge administratif, lequel avait jugé que ces opérateurs économiques devaient obtenir une juste indemnité de la privation de leur bien. Le juge administratif avait donc condamné la Polynésie française à réparer le préjudice subi par un négociant de perles [54]. La “loi du pays” visait donc désormais à autoriser la vente de rebuts de perle sur le marché. Toutefois, l’autorité de la concurrence encourageait la Polynésie française à créer des normes de qualité au bénéfice des producteurs en distinguant la “perle de Tahiti” des “autres perles” notamment celles appelées “rebuts”. Si les arrêtés du 31 juillet 2017 délimitent bien les critères de classification de la perle de Tahiti, rien n’est précisé pour les autres perles qui n’entrent pas dans cette classification. L’arrêté no 1258 CM du 31 juillet 2017 relatif aux critères de classification de la perle de culture de Tahiti issue de l’huître perlière, classe dans la catégorie E (catégories de A à E) la perle n’entrant pas dans les autres catégories, en raison de sa moindre qualité. Cette perle conserve donc l’appellation de “Perle de culture de Tahiti”, malgré une qualité médiocre. La perle de culture de Tahiti de catégorie E pourrait à l’international être vendue sous la même appellation que les perles de catégorie A à D. Une protection de l’appellation “Perle de culture de Tahiti” aurait pu être envisagée, ou du moins discutée au regard du présent avis, par la Polynésie française. Espérons que, dans l’avenir, les recommandations de l’APC dans ses avis puissent servir à l’enrichissement du débat démocratique au sein des institutions polynésiennes et de la qualité de la réglementation locale.

II. Contrôle des concentrations

15. Le dispositif de surveillance des concentrations est particulièrement étoffé en Polynésie française puisqu’il repose sur trois outils : deux outils opérationnels auxquels s’ajoute un outil statistique (1.). L’analyse du bilan de l’activité de l’APC ces deux dernières années fait ressortir deux éléments : tout d’abord, la confirmation par l’observatoire des concentrations de la forte concentration de l’économie polynésienne (2.) ; et, s’agissant du contrôle des concentrations, les remous suscités à la suite d’une décision rendue par l’APC sur le marché du transport maritime interinsulaire (3.).

1. Un triple dispositif de contrôle des concentrations

1.1 Un dispositif inspiré du droit national mais avec des seuils adaptés

16. Le dispositif polynésien de contrôle des concentrations (titre I du livre III du code de la concurrence) est une transposition de la procédure existant au plan national.

17. La seule différence significative avec le dispositif national tient aux seuils déclenchant le contrôle des concentrations et s’explique par l’étroitesse du marché polynésien, qui compte moins de 300 000 habitants (art. LP 310-2). Relèvent du contrôle les opérations impliquant des entreprises réalisant, ensemble, au moins 2 milliards de francs CFP de chiffre d’affaires (soit environ 16 760 000 euros) et, individuellement, au moins 500 millions de francs CFP de chiffre d’affaires (soit environ 4 190 000 euros). Par ailleurs, dans le secteur de la distribution alimentaire, ces seuils sont abaissés à 1,5 milliard de francs CFP (soit environ 12 570 000 euros) et 200 millions de francs CFP (soit environ 1 676 000 euros).

18. Dans un communiqué du 4 octobre 2017, l’APC a indiqué que le 2° de l’article LP 310-2 du code de la concurrence fixant le seuil de chiffre d’affaires individuel devait être entendu comme étant rempli par au moins deux entreprises parties à la concentration, conformément à son règlement intérieur et à ses lignes directrices relatives au champ d’application et à la procédure de contrôle des concentrations dans leur rédaction en vigueur. À la suite de cette publication, deux notifications d’opérations ont été retirées.

1.2 Un dispositif original de contrôle des surfaces commerciales

19. Le droit polynésien de la concurrence comporte un dispositif original de contrôle des surfaces commerciales (titre II du livre III). Ce dispositif, qui n’existe que dans certaines collectivités d’outre-mer, soumet à une autorisation préalable la croissance interne des opérateurs dans le secteur du commerce de détail. Doivent être notifiées en vue de subir un contrôle préalable de l’APC “les projets de création ou d’extension de magasins de commerce de détail ou de transformation d’immeuble existants en établissements de commerce de détail d’une surface de vente supérieure à trois cents mètres carrés” (art. LP 320-1). Le contrôle a pour but de déterminer “si l’opération crée ou renforce une position dominante ou une puissance d’achat qui placerait les fournisseurs en situation de dépendance économique”.

20. Plus curieusement, l’APC “peut également veiller à ce que les projets concernés répondent aux exigences d’aménagement du territoire”. En l’absence de modalités d’appréciation prévues par les textes, les critères d’appréciation et la méthodologie mise en œuvre sont les mêmes que pour le contrôle des concentrations (hormis pour l’appréciation des exigences d’aménagement du territoire). 

21. À l’issue d’une instruction assez courte (au plus trente jours), l’APC peut soit autoriser l’opération, soit subordonner sa réalisation à des engagements destinés à assurer une concurrence suffisante, soit enfin l’interdire si l’opération est susceptible de porter une atteinte excessive à la concurrence. Là encore, le contournement de la procédure de contrôle ou la méconnaissance des engagements pris exposent les opérateurs à de lourdes sanctions (art. LP 320-4).

1.3 L’observatoire des concentrations

22. À côté de ces deux outils qui lui permettaient de juguler les phénomènes de concentration susceptibles de préjudicier à la concurrence, les articles LP 630-1 et s. instituaient au profit de l’APC un outil statistique de première importance : l’observatoire des concentrations. En application de ces dispositions, les entreprises ayant réalisé un chiffre d’affaires total hors taxes supérieur à 500 millions de francs CFP ou à 200 millions de francs CFP dans le commerce de détail à dominante alimentaire étaient tenues de déclarer auprès de l’APC, avant le 30 juin de chaque année, leur capital social et sa répartition ainsi que les participations qu’elles détenaient au sein d’autres entreprises. 

23. Ces données, jusqu’alors confidentielles, ont permis à l’APC de disposer d’une cartographie très fine de la structure et du degré de concentration des différents secteurs de l’activité économique et des marchés pertinents concernés. Cet outil de veille et d’information permet à l’APC de disposer d’un outil de vigilance en matière de pratiques anticoncurrentielles, les secteurs fortement concentrés étant un terrain favorable à l’apparition d’abus de position dominante ou de pratiques concertées sur des marchés qui, dans les deux cas, devraient être clairement définis.

2. Les premières études chiffrées confirment la forte concentration de l’économie polynésienne

24. La concentration d’un marché se mesure par le nombre d’entreprises et leur taille respective sur un secteur donné. Elle permet d’apprécier leur pouvoir de marché à l’aune, entre autres critères, de la répartition des parts de marché. Les travaux de l’Observatoire des concentrations ont permis d’objectiver ce que l’on pressentait eu égard à l’étroitesse de l’économie polynésienne, à savoir sa forte concentration.

25. En effet alors qu’elles représentent 1,1 % des entreprises en activité en 2015, les sociétés déclarantes (celles qui dépassent les 500 millions de francs de chiffre d’affaires hors taxes) représentent 67,3 % de l’activité globale déclarée [55].

26. Selon l’APC, cette forte concentration s’explique par l’existence de nombreux monopoles ou quasi-monopoles de fait ou de droit. Au titre des monopoles de droit, on peut citer le transport et la distribution de l’électricité, le service universel de la poste ou les activités et jeux de hasard ; au titre des monopoles de fait, les activités de fabrication de bières ou d’enrobés. Par ailleurs, des entreprises en situation d’opérateur quasi unique sont présentes dans le transport aérien interinsulaire et la gestion des infrastructures portuaires ou aéroportuaires.

27. Ces secteurs à opérateur unique ou quasi unique représentent un chiffre d’affaires cumulé compris entre 110 et 120 milliards de francs, soit près de 15 % de la production de biens et services en Polynésie française. Par ailleurs, l’analyse des divers secteurs d’activité souligne une écrasante majorité de cas où le degré de concentration est élevé, voire très élevé. C’est notamment le cas, par exemple de la production d’électricité, de la distribution de boissons, des banques, des télécommunications ou du commerce de détail à dominante alimentaire.

3. La décision controversée no 2017-CC-01 du 9 mars 2017 relative à la prise de contrôle exclusif des sociétés Compagnie française maritime de Tahiti (CFMT) et Vaipihaa par la SCP Emar

28. L’écrasante majorité des décisions rendues par l’APC au titre du contrôle des opérations de concentration a porté sur le secteur de l’hôtellerie. Or, c’est, on la sait, l’un des rares marchés présentant un faible degré de concentration en raison d’une offre variée et de nombreux opérateurs. Ces opérations de rachat d’hôtels n’ont donc pas soulevé de problème significatif.

29. Il en va différemment de la seule opération de concentration significative intervenue dans le domaine du transport maritime : la décision no 2017-CC-01 du 9 mars 2017, où l’APC a subordonné à d’importantes conditions l’opération de rachat de deux compagnies maritimes, la Compagnie française maritime et la société Vaipihaa, par la SCP Emar, transporteur maritime adossé au principal acteur du secteur agroalimentaire polynésien, le groupe Martin, dont le fleuron, la Brasserie de Tahiti, produit la fameuse bière Hinano.

30. La difficulté soulevée par l’opération, du point de vue de la concurrence, tenait au fait qu’elle n’impliquait pas seulement un risque de réduction de concurrence sur le seul secteur du transport maritime interinsulaire, mais également des débouchés commerciaux relatifs au commerce de boissons dans les archipels éloignés. En effet, les parties à l’opération de concentration étaient simultanément actives sur les marchés du transport maritime interinsulaire et sur la vente au détail de biens spécifiques. Le groupe acquéreur est également présent sur les marchés de production et de distribution de boissons.

31. Selon le scénario retenu par l’APC, l’opération envisagée aurait abouti, sur le marché du transport maritime, à une réduction de la concurrence sur la moitié des archipels polynésiens, et ce, en créant un monopole aux îles Sous-le-Vent et aux Gambier et en constituant un quasi-monopole aux Tuamotu Est (87,4 % de parts de marché).

32. En considérant les marchés de produits et géographique, l’APC a considéré que l’opération projetée, compte tenu de la très forte position (monopolistique ou quasi monopolistique) du groupe Martin, et de l’absence de contre-pouvoirs ou de gains d’efficacité significatifs, était de nature à porter atteinte à la concurrence, par le biais d’effets horizontaux aux îles Sous-le-Vent, Gambier et Tuamotu Est. En effet, au regard de l’analyse des effets anticoncurrentiels, la nouvelle entité aurait été en mesure de se comporter de manière indépendante de ses concurrents et de ses clients tant en ce qui concerne le prix de ses prestations (capacité d’obtenir du Gouvernement l’augmentation des tarifs réglementés du transport et baisse des remises accordées aux clients professionnels) que la qualité des services offerts. La dégradation du service aux fins de maximisation du profit aurait pu conduire à allonger les délais de livraison mais aussi à créer des goulots d’étranglement, voire des pénuries (limitation des fréquences de rotation, obsolescences des navires...).

33. Outre ces effets horizontaux, l’APC redoutait aussi des effets verticaux et congloméraux. Les effets verticaux redoutés tenaient à ce que, compte tenu de sa position sur les marchés amont des boissons et sur les marchés aval du transport, le groupe acquéreur aurait été en mesure de faire transporter la totalité de ses boissons par ses bateaux au détriment des produits de ses concurrents distributeurs de boissons par des pratiques tarifaires (application différenciée des remises, des conditions de paiement, de la majoration “transport” et de certaines prestations annexes) et non tarifaires (refus de prise en charge de marchandises en l’absence de capacités disponibles, accès plus complexe aux bateaux et tracasseries administratives) discriminatoires entre les boissons du groupe et les produits concurrents. Les concurrents du groupe acquéreur sur les marchés amont (production/distribution de boissons) subiraient donc de fait une diminution de leurs débouchés commerciaux.

34. Enfin, l’opération envisagée aurait pu aboutir à des effets congloméraux en renforçant la présence du groupe Martin sur plusieurs marchés connexes en lui permettant de desservir des zones où il n’était pas présent et de proposer des offres de services groupées/multizones à ses clients (via des remises multizones qu’aucun de ses concurrents n’est en mesure d’offrir) qui auraient pu les inciter à choisir les navires du groupe pour le transport de la totalité de leur fret et donc avoir un effet d’éviction des concurrents.

35. Eu égard à de telles perspectives de diminution de la concurrence, afin de limiter l’impact anticoncurrentiel de l’opération, l’APC a conditionné sa réalisation à la cession par le groupe acquéreur de deux de ses navires, l’un sur la ligne entre Tahiti et les îles Sous-le-Vent et un sur la ligne entre Tahiti et les Tuamotu Est et les Gambier.

36. Cette décision a été extrêmement mal vécue par les acteurs du projet de concentration, qui ont renoncé à mettre en œuvre l’opération. Il est vrai que très rares sont les projets concernant les archipels éloignés de Tahiti ; une telle renonciation est apparue extrêmement regrettable, notamment aux pouvoirs publics, soucieux du développement des archipels éloignés.

37. Cette décision a été au centre de vives discussions à l’occasion d’un colloque sur la concurrence organisé à l’université de la Polynésie française, financé par les plus grosses entreprises polynésiennes, dont le groupe Martin, à l’issue duquel la loi du pays précitée a été adoptée, restreignant les compétences de l’APC.

III. Répression des pratiques anticoncurrentielles : Abus de position dominante (décision no 2018-PAC-01 du 6 juin 2018 relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans le secteur de la téléphonie mobile à destination de la clientèle résidentielle)

1. Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile et son contexte

38. L’ouverture de la concurrence dans le secteur de la téléphonie mobile a été difficile en Polynésie française. En raison de la non-application des règles de droit matériel de l’Union européenne en Polynésie française et du principe de spécialité législative [56], c’est seulement une délibération no 2003-85 APF du 12 juin 2003, modifiant le code des postes et des télécommunications de la Polynésie française, qui a procédé à cette ouverture. Toutefois, dans les faits, le marché de la téléphonie mobile ne connaissait de 1994 à 2013 qu’un seul opérateur économique, à savoir la filiale Tikiphone devenue Vini, filiale de l’opérateur historique, l’Office des postes et télécommunications (OPT). Plusieurs tentatives d’entrées de nouveaux opérateurs sur le marché avaient été contrariées, souvent du fait d’obstacles réglementaires. Par exemple, le Conseil d’État avait déclaré discriminatoire une “loi du pays” du 5 octobre 2010, restrictive au droit d’établissement, car cette loi interdisait la société Digicel Tahiti, concurrente de l’OPT, à exercer une activité de téléphonie mobile sur le marché, au motif tiré de sa nationalité [57]. L’opérateur historique (OPT), qui possède un monopole sur les réseaux de télécommunications (filaires, cuivre…), n’avait aucun intérêt au développement de la concurrence sur le territoire, et le gouvernement de la Polynésie française, qui s’est vu reverser de l’OPT depuis 2006 la somme de 14 milliards de francs [58], notamment grâce aux résultats de la société Vini, ne souhaitait pas vraiment d’évolution du système. L’OPT, premier employeur avec plus de 900 salariés, est en outre le “poids lourd” de l’économie locale.

39. Aussi, dans l’attente d’un droit de la concurrence et d’une autorité indépendante spécialisée, c’est le juge administratif, sur le fondement des dispositions du code des postes et des télécommunications (art. D 212-2), qui assurait ce minimum concurrentiel en jugeant que les droits d’entrées exigées par la Polynésie française aux opérateurs, pour exercer une activité de fournisseur d’internet, n’étaient pas justifiés dans leur montant par des motifs d’intérêt général et faisaient obstacle au développement de la concurrence effective et loyale [59]. Ces droits d’entrées ont pu être regardés comme protégeant ou favorisant l’OPT.

40. La société Vodafone-Pacific Mobile Télécom (PMT) devenait alors en 2013 le second opérateur de téléphonie mobile sur le territoire en concurrence avec la société Vini, filiale à 100 % de l’opérateur historique (OPT). Face à des pratiques qu’elle jugeait anticoncurrentielles, la société Vodafone-PMT saisissait l’APC le 23 mars 2016 afin qu’elle prenne des mesures conservatoires à l’égard de certaines pratiques, dans le cadre de l’article LP 641-1 du code de la concurrence.

41. Pour une présentation générale de l’affaire, nous renvoyons au commentaire dans cette revue de cette première décision en matière d’abus de position dominante [60]. Nous nous bornerons à présenter quelques observations relatives aux pratiques de la société Vini, et la procédure choisie par l’APC.

2. Les pratiques visées de la société Vini

2.1 Les pratiques de différenciation tarifaire et de politique de fidélisation

42. Il est reproché à la société Vini d’avoir mis en œuvre une différenciation tarifaire entre appels vocaux et SMS on-net (entre deux clients appartenant à son réseau) et off-net (entre un client appartenant à son réseau et un client appartenant à celui de Vodafone-PMT).

43. La différenciation tarifaire est de nature à permettre à un opérateur en position dominante d’en abuser, en fixant notamment des barrières à l’entrée du marché. L’opérateur en position dominante, s’il ne cherche pas l’éviction de son concurrent, est susceptible d’abuser de son exploitation, de sa rente de situation. La différenciation tarifaire, dans le cadre de l’exploitation d’une position dominante, n’est donc pas en elle-même anticoncurrentielle. Mais elle peut le devenir si le tarif du service n’est pas justifié ou est disproportionné par le coût supporté.

44. Dans ce sens, les pratiques de différenciation tarifaire ont été sanctionnées en métropole dès lors que les services on-net et off-net étaient comparables et que le traitement tarifaire différencié n’était pas justifié de manière objective. Dans ce cas, la différenciation tarifaire peut avoir des effets anticoncurrentiels en affaiblissant le concurrent sur le marché de détail, et en augmentant les barrières à l’entrée du marché [61].

45. En l’espèce, la société Vini était en position dominante sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile, dès lors qu’elle détenait 85 % des parts de marché. Le marché des SMS et vocal a été considéré comme mature, avec 95 % des foyers dotés de téléphone mobile, en raison du monopole de fait entre 1994 et 2013 de l’OPT et de sa filiale Vini. Partant, l’autorité de la concurrence a estimé que la différenciation de tarification des appels on-net et off-net dans les offres de détail des gammes Premium et Izi proposées par Vini n’était pas justifiée par une différence objective des charges de terminaison d’appel SMS et vocal que se facturent les opérateurs. Sans entrer dans le détail des forfaits proposés et du calcul des coûts au regard des prix de ces forfaits, nous nous bornerons à indiquer que les tarifs des forfaits Vini incitaient les consommateurs à s’abonner auprès de l’opérateur du réseau le plus important, à savoir Vini. Cette pratique renforçait ainsi les “effets de club”. Elle marginalisait aussi les offres de Vodafone-PMT, en réduisant ses revenus, ses marges et en altérant son image.

46. La deuxième pratique visée est celle des offres de fidélité et de fidélisation, proche du rabais. En l’espèce était en cause un programme de fidélité “Ura”. Le client postpayé qui souhaitait changer de terminal en utilisant ses points en cours d’engagement devait se réengager pour vingt-quatre mois. Au terme de sa période d’engagement initiale, le client ne pouvait changer d’opérateur qu’en perdant la contre-valeur de point qu’il avait accumulée. De plus, la politique d’engagement initial et de réengagement dans le cadre d’une migration en cours de contrat n’était pas justifiée économiquement et manquait de transparence. Ces pratiques influaient sur la capacité d’arbitrage des clients postpayés en augmentant artificiellement les coûts de changement vers les concurrents.

2.2 La procédure choisie par l’APC

47. Les pratiques anticoncurrentielles déterminées, la société Vini a proposé, comme le lui permet l’article LP 641-2 du code de la concurrence, des engagements pour faire cesser ces pratiques. L’autorité de la concurrence a accepté ces engagements dès lors qu’elle a estimé qu’ils étaient de nature à mettre un terme à ces pratiques.

48. La société Vini s’est engagée à ne plus commercialiser d’offres incluant une différenciation tarifaire entre les appels et SMS on-net et off-net allant au-delà de l’écart des charges de terminaison d’appels mobile, à réviser son programme de fidélité, à informer clairement les clients sur les durées d’engagement et les modalités de résiliation. Les engagements conservent leur entier intérêt s’ils permettent de libérer le client de son contrat afin de lui permettre de faire un choix, en toute connaissance de cause, sur l’offre de forfait proposée par Vini et son concurrent. Les offres doivent encore faire apparaître clairement ce qui relève des points de fidélité et de la subvention Vini avec engagement pour l’avenir, afin que le client puisse comparer l’offre Vini avec celle de son concurrent.

49. Face à ces pratiques, l’autorité de la concurrence a fait preuve de pédagogie, tout en restant ferme dans le suivi concret de ces engagements. Cette méthode, dans un contexte où les entreprises ont encore du mal à intégrer dans leur comportement et dans leur culture ce nouveau droit, est à encourager. En cas de non-respect de ces engagements, l’autorité de la concurrence pourra toujours prononcer des sanctions pécuniaires. De plus, la procédure au fond est toujours en cours.

50. Précisons enfin qu’un troisième opérateur de téléphonie mobile, la société Viti, a fait son entrée sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile, malgré le refus de la Polynésie française de lui accorder l’autorisation nécessaire. En effet, à la suite de la saisine du tribunal administratif, le juge a fait injonction sous astreinte au gouvernement de la Polynésie française d’autoriser l’établissement et l’exploitation de cette société sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile [62], illustrant ainsi la convergence, en termes d’ouverture du marché des télécommunications ou communications électroniques, entre les décisions des juridictions administratives et celles de l’APC.


51. L’amputation d’importantes prérogatives de l’APC témoigne de la résilience très forte de l’économie administrée aussi bien dans le tissu économique lui-même qu’au niveau des décideurs publics qui acceptent mal l’apparente perte de pouvoir qu’implique la mise en œuvre de ce droit par une autorité indépendante.

52. Or, c’est oublier que les autorités chargées de la concurrence ont précisément été instituées pour éviter que les décideurs publics ne se retrouvent en première ligne ou en situation de porte-à-faux à l’occasion de la mise en œuvre des politiques de déréglementation et d’ouverture à la concurrence.

53. Dans un contexte où l’économie polynésienne reste très fortement administrée, la mise en œuvre de ces politiques sectorielles d’ouverture à la concurrence constitue un enjeu de tout premier plan.

54. Au sein de cet environnement économique et social difficile, l’APC doit s’imposer en se faisant davantage connaître et reconnaître par l’ensemble des acteurs de la société polynésienne. Gageons qu’elle saura parvenir avec maîtrise et efficacité à la réalisation de cet objectif.


[1See M. S. Gal, Competition Policy for Small Market Economies, Cambridge, Harvard University Press 2003.

[2Ibid., 5.

[3Ibid., 7.

[4Ibid., 1.

[5E. M. Fox, Competition, Development and Regional Integration: In Search of a Competition Law Fit for Developing Countries, in Competition Policy and Regional Integration in Developing Countries, Josef Drexl et al. (eds.) Edwards Elgar 2012.

[6Ibid., 2.

[7Proposals for reform are currently being examined by the French Administrative Supreme Court.

[8CCA, s. 46.

[9Explanatory Memorandum to Exposure Draft Trade Practices Amendment Bill 1984, para. 24. More recently the provision has been amended to implement a purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition test for breach, rather than a purpose test alone (Act No. 87 of 2017, s. 3 and Sch.1 item 1, effective 6 Nov. 2017).

[10CCA, s. 50.

[11In French: Autorité polynésienne de la concurrence (APC).

[13Own-initiative opinions (in French, Avis sur auto-saisine).

[14Opinions (in French, Avis)

[19For now, one decision taken in the telecommunications sector.

[20For now, ten decisions taken.

[21For now, four decisions taken.

[22See G. Wibaux, rapporteure, Autorité métropolitaine de la concurrence, Rapport relatif aux structures de contrôle en matière de la concurrence en NC, 2012.

[28F.CFP = Franc. Change Pacific Franc (XPF) 1 euro = 119 XPF.

[32Part IIIA of Division 1—CCA.

[35As noted by the OECD Council in its 1998 recommendation on hard core cartels: http://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/2350130.pdf.

[36As per the Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Bill 2008 which provided for cartel offences (ss 44ZZRF-44ZZRG) to be added to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), Pt IV.

[37On 15 August 2014, the ACCC and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding serious cartel conduct. The MOU provides that if a suspected cartel satisfies two or more of the factors contained therein, the ACCC may consider the cartel as being “serious.”

[38As per the MOU with the CDPP, the ACCC is responsible for investigating cartel conduct, managing the immunity process and referral of serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration for prosecution. The CDPP is responsible for prosecuting offences against Commonwealth law, including serious cartel offences, in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

[39Explanatory Memorandum of the Competition and Consumer (Competition Policy Reform) Act 2017 (Cth) at para. 3.18.

[40Section 90(7) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2019 (Cth) (CCA).

[41Except in the case of criminal proceedings, which are initiated by the CDPP.

[42The maximum pecuniary penalty applicable to corporations for most contraventions of Part IV of the CCA (restrictive trade practices) is the greater of AU$10 million, three times the value of the gains that are reasonable attributable to the act or omission (if the court can determine the benefits), or where the gains from the contravention cannot be readily ascertained, 10% of the annual turnover of the body corporate in the first twelve months after the contravention occurred. There are a limited number of exceptions in Part IV that attract lower maximum penalties (see section 76 of the CCA).

[43The maximum pecuniary penalty for a person who is not a body corporate involved in a contravention of Part IV of the CCA is AU$500,000.

[44Section 87B of the CCA allows the ACCC to accept undertakings given by a person in connection with a matter in relation to which the ACC has a power or function under the CCA. The ACCC can also accept an undertaking in connection with a merger authorisation. If a firm or individual breaches a term of an undertaking, a court can make orders against that party, including an order to pay the Commonwealth any financial benefit attributable to the breach, or compensate and loss or damage arising from the breach.

[45The ACCC is the sole point of contact for applicants seeking civil and/or criminal immunity, and is responsible for granting civil immunity. The CDPP is responsible for granting criminal immunity.

[46Part 7A of Division 3, CCA.

[47Section 95U(3) of the CCA provides that it is a reasonable excuse for a person to not answer questions or produce documents if it might tend to incriminate the person or expose them to a penalty.

[48Including Part VIIA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), which was replaced by the CCA on 1 January 2011.

[49In Section 82(1) of the CCA.

[50O’Neill v. Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Ltd [2002] FCAFC 188.

[51See NT Power Generation Pty v.Power and Water Authority and Gasco (2001) ATPR 41-814, a case involving derivative Crown immunity and the application of s46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) to the Crown.

[52Il existe des tempéraments à cette inapplicabilité du droit national et du droit européen de la concurrence en Polynésie française. On peut citer l’application des principes généraux du droit qui permettent au juge administratif de sanctionner une réglementation portant atteinte à la concurrence. De même, certains principes européens de libre circulation et de non-discrimination s’appliquent au travers de la décision d’association liant les PTOM à l’Union européenne.

[53CE, 28 juin 2017, Société Pearly investissement, no 407125.

[54Tribunal administratif de la Polynésie française (ci-après “TAPF”), 30 mai 2017, EURL Raipoe International, no1600484.

[55Rapport d’activité 2017, p. 41.

[56La directive 90/388/CEE de la Commission européenne du 28 juin 1990 relative à la concurrence dans les marchés des services de télécommunications et la loi métropolitaine no 90-1170 du 29 décembre 1990 sur la réglementation des télécommunications n’étaient pas applicables en Polynésie.

[57La “loi du pays” limitait à 35 % par un investisseur étranger la détention du capital, des droits de vote, dividende, de tout opérateur exploitant un réseau de téléphonie mobile en Polynésie française ; CE, 2 février 2011, Haut commissaire de la République en PF et société Digicel Tahiti, nos 343991 et 344199.

[58Avis no 2017-A-02 du 22 septembre 2017 relatif à l’octroi par le gouvernement d’autorisations de fournir des services de télécommunications aux sociétés Viti et Pacific Mobile Telecom.

[59TAPF, 3 juillet 2013, SAS Viti, no 1300111.

[60A. Ronzano, Telecoms : L’Autorité polynésienne de la concurrence rend sa première décision contentieuse et accepte les engagements de l’opérateur historique des télécoms polynésien mettant fin à des pratiques identiques à celles déjà sanctionnées par l’Autorité de la concurrence métropolitaine (OPT), Concurrences no 3-2018, art. no 87221.

[61V., sur ce point, Cass. com., 5 avril 2018, Société Orange et société SFR, no 16-19186 ; 16-19274.

[62TAPF, 12 juin 2017, Société Viti, no 1700414.

PDF Version


  • Administrative Tribunal of French Polynesia (Papeete)
  • Polynesian Competition Authority (Papeete)
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
  • New Caledonia Competition Authority (Nouméa)
  • University of New South Wales (Sydney)
  • Autorité polynésienne de la Concurrence (Papeete)
  • New Caledonia Competition Authority (Nouméa)
  • Autorité polynésienne de la Concurrence (Papeete)


Antonino Troianiello, Deborah Healey, Rod Sims, Jacques Merot, Tehono Marchal, Aurélie Zoude-Le-Berre, Robin Simpson, Stephane Retterer, Antitrust regimes in the Pacific region, November 2018, Concurrences Review N° 4-2018, Art. N° 88089, pp. 19-54

Visites 412

All reviews