By Jenna Auwerx & Sandrine Mathieu

On 12 September 2018, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published a draft guide on exchange of market and price information between associations of undertakings. The guide is now open to consultation by interested parties.

As in previous years, applying competition law to associations of undertakings is on the list of the BCA’s top priorities for 2018. In practice, the BCA is regularly solicited with questions on information that associations of undertakings are entitled to share under competition rules. The guide therefore aims at providing guidelines on the type of information (including tools enabling members or clients to set up prices) that associations of undertaking can or cannot communicate to their members.

The guide includes a brief summary of European competition law rules applicable to exchange of commercially sensitive information. Compliance of several market practices is then assessed in light of the Commission’s guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements and relevant European and national case law. These practices include:
– regular market statements;
– price comparisons;
– information on future price increase;
– methods for setting price;
– exchange of information as part of distribution agreements.

The guide provides for comprehensive guidelines on the lawfulness of these practices, with detailed examples of exchange of information likely or not likely to infringe competition law.

Although the guide is still a work in progress, associations of undertakings are invited to examine it carefully and to assess compliance with the rules. pharumlegal has the expertise and knowledge to provide you with the legal assistance you may need in that regard.