INTERNATIONAL - SPAIN - ENTERING INTO FORCE SEPTEMBER, 1ST 2007 - HARMONISATION WITH EU RULES - REPLACEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORISATION SYSTEM FOR AGREEMENTS BY A DIRECTLY APPLICABLE LEGAL EXCEPTION SYSTEM - PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT - CREATION OF A SINGLE COMPETITION AUTHORITY - LENIENCY - INSPECTIONS IN PRIVATE HOMES - MERGER CONTROL

Spain’s New Competition Act

A new competition Act will enter into force in Spain on September, 1st 2007. The new Act entails a significant reform of the Spanish competition regime and will bring in further harmonisation of Spanish competition law with the EU rules. The new Act replaces the individual authorisation system for agreements by a directly applicable legal exception system. It also allows for the private enforcement of national competition rules. From an institutional standpoint, the most relevant change is the creation of a single competition authority that will replace the traditional two-tier system. The enforcement tools of the new authority are enhanced with the introduction, for the first time in Spanish competition law, of leniency provisions, as well as the power to conduct inspections in private homes. Regarding merger control, the Government will see its powers decrease whereas those of the new competition authority will be extended.

I. Rationale for the reform 1. On 14 June 2007, the Spanish Parliament approved a new Competition Act [1] (“the NCA”), which will replace the legislation that has been governing competition in Spain for over fifteen years : Act 16/1989, of 17 July, on the Defence of Competition (“the 1989 Act”). 2. The NCA, which will enter into force on September, 1st 2007, constitutes the final outcome of a long process which started on January 2005 when the Spanish competition authorities published a White Paper on the reform of the Spanish competition regime. During this period of over two years, interested parties were invited to participate in the reform process by means of the submission of comments on the White Paper as well as on the draft of the NCA. The resulting text has, thus, gathered the

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Paloma Martínez-Lage Sobredo, Spain’s New Competition Act, septembre 2007, Concurrences N° 3-2007, Art. N° 13804, pp. 174-180

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