Thursday, August 6, 2020
Exploitative Pricing in the Time of Coronavirus—The Response of EU Competition Law and the Prospect of Price Regulation
Article 102 (a) TFEU can apply to coronavirus profiteering despite the difficulties of proof associated with finding an exploitative abuse of collective dominant position.
According to ABG Oil case, it can be argued that the firms selling goods in high demand due to the coronavirus outbreak have ‘transitory market power’ and so they hold a temporary position of market strength.
The issuance of ‘commitment decisions’ by the European Commission is preferable to the imposition of fines to firms, because it could reset prices to a non-excessive level, rather than merely alleviating the harmful effects of excessive pricing.
Price regulation is a much-disputed enterprise in contemporary regulatory practice, but in the absence of self-correcting excessive prices, the pragmatism calls for it.