Latvian Competition Law Amended to Give Additional Powers to Regulator
The Ministry of Economics has prepared a draft law „Amendments to the Competition law”. The amendments are going to extend the power of Competition Council, introduce the state fee of merger assessment and also will determine significant changes in the rules concerning participant’s liability. The main goal of these amendments is to incorporate into the Competition law a market participant’s liability for violating a procedure of competition investigations.
By amending the Competition law, only the Competition Council will have rights to initiate a case of a possible violation, thus ensuring effective usage of the Competition Council’s resources.
It is also intended to implement the Competition law with a Tolerance program. The program would define principles of fine reduction or release from punishment, if a participant detects a cartel or actively cooperates in a cartel elimination proceedings.
The court, while hearing the proceedings of the violations of Competition law or the treaty on European Union, won’t have rights to rule contrary to an effective and indisputable decision of the Competition Council or a previous court judgment that finds a violation.
There are also some changes on the thresholds of the merger notifications. The thresholds won’t depend on a market share, but on a turnover of all members (EUR 30 million) and each member itself (EUR 1.5 million). Also, there will be an expansion of cases when participants can submit a short-form merger notification report.
The amendments also define the merger state fee, which partially covers the merger evaluation process and possible costs of future monitoring. The fee amount (from 4000 to 8000 euros) and the payment procedure will be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers. But it is planned that the fees will be differentiated depending on the importance and impact of the merger.