06.09.2012

Finnish government to promote healthy competition

New programme proposes more power for the Finnish Competition Authority to challenge the misuse of a dominant market position in the daily consumer goods market.

The Finnish government is currently preparing a programme to promote healthy competition in the economy. Lack of competition increases the price level of products, reduces incentives to innovation and so reduces productivity and growth, according to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy which is responsible for the preparation of the programme.

In particular, the programme aims to increase competition in the daily consumer goods trade, to ensure equal competitive conditions for public and private sector businesses, and to remove barriers to competition caused by outdated legislation, for example in town planning and construction.

New rules for the daily consumer goods market

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is preparing an amendment to the law which would enable the Finnish Competition Authority to take more action on anti-competitive behaviour and the misuse of a dominant market position in the daily consumer goods market. The goal is to ensure that companies with a large share of the market treat customers and other actors in the sector equally. Finland has Europe’s most concentrated daily consumer goods sector, where the two major players, S-Group and Kesko, wield substantial negotiating power.

The Finnish Competition Authority would also strengthen its mandate in monitoring competitive neutrality for all business activities whether they conducted by the state, municipalities or private companies. The healthy competition programme will also make recommendations for reducing barriers to competition in the waste, pharmaceutical and digital markets, as well as clarifying regulations on third sector activities.

Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy, IIF