Federal Cabinet Adopts 8th GWB Amendment

The Federal Cabinet adopted an 8th Amendment of the German Act Against Restraints on Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen – GWB), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) informed.

The 8th GWB amendment shall lead to a further approximation with EU competition law, while upholding and extending special German provisions that have demonstrated their effectiveness.

In line with the European approach the German Cartel Office shall in the future apply the “SIEC test” („significant impediment to effective competition“) with respect to merger control. Furthermore the cartel authorities shall remain able to review minority stakes that do not allow complete control of an undertaking, but give a decisive influence on competition. In particular in the energy sector, this allows the Cartel Office to ensure competition the justification for the amendment points out.

With respect to the energy sector, the amendment also proposes to extend Section 29 GWB, which was due to expire on 31 December 2012, by another five years. According to Section 29 GWB, an undertaking, which is a supplier of electricity or pipeline gas (public utility company) on a market in which it has a dominant position, is prohibited from abusing such position by demanding fees or other business terms which are less favourable than those of other public utility companies or undertakings in comparable markets, or demanding fees which unreasonably exceed the costs. The draft justifies the extension by saying that competition in the energy markets had increased, yet competition in certain area, namely heating current, did not exist to a sufficient degree.

For further information on the 8th GWB amendment, please see the link below and the related posts.

Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

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