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EU Agreements of Minor Importance

EU Agreements of Minor Importance

Agreements between smaller companies or those who do not dominate their particular market, do not tend to affect trade within the EU.

This is reflected in a notice from the EU Commission exempting agreements which would otherwise be caught by EU competition law. The notice applies to exempt agreements in the following cases:

  • The general test will be that the agreement does not constitute an appreciable restriction on competition, largely depending on market share;
  • Between competitors, the threshold market share is 10% and at 15% between non-competitors;
  • However where there is shown to be a network of agreements, the level will be 5%;
  • In addition, agreements between two ‘small or medium-sized enterprises’ will not normally be caught by EU competition law;
  • The above exclusions will not apply if the deal involves ‘hard core’ restrictions such as price fixing and market sharing which are illegal regardless of the size of the parties or their market share.

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