The main objective of the European Union is to establish the single market. Yet, research by the European institutions shows that there are large price and persistent differences in the retail sector between the different member states for the same goods. There are indications that trade restrictions imposed by international manufacturers are responsible for these price differences among European countries. The AB InBev case – decided by the European Commission in 2019 – identifies market segment practices which are considered as abusive conduct according to article 102 TFEU. Companies affected by such illegal trade practices can rely on the evidence of the AB InBev decision to take legal action against them. Retailers and wholesalers should take up this opportunity and contribute to the European Union’s aim of a single market. In this way, they would not only benefit from better purchasing conditions or possible claims for damages, but also protect themselves against the legal risk of “agreeing” to the trade restriction themselves.
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