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The Commission has just adopted a decision imposing periodic penalty payments of 1 000 ECU per day on Hoechst AG in order to compel that company to submit to an investigation into its suspected participation in restrictive practices relating to the fixing of prices and quotas for PVC and polyethylene. The investigation was ordered on 15.1.1987 by a Commission decision but Hoechst AG refused to submit to it when the Commission's inspectors notified the decision on 20.1.1987. Under Community law the Commission has powers of its own to investigate undertakings and to this end can: - examine the books and other business records, - take copies of or extracts from the books and business records, - ask for oral explanations on the spot, - enter any premises, land and means of transport of undertakings. Companies are obliged to submit to such investigations when they are ordered by a Commission decision - subject only to review by the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which has sole powers to annul the decision or to suspend its application. The Commission notes that Hoechst AG has not yet made an appeal to the Court of Justice against the Commission's decision to investigate. As long as the Court of Justice has not annulled or suspended the Commission's decision it remains valid and therefore must be obeyed. If a company refuses to submit to a Commission decision to investigate certain of its activities the Commission can ask the competent national authorities to provide the necessary assistance in order to enforce the decision. - 2 - On that basis the Commission immediately requested the assistance of the Bundeskartellamt which is the competent German authority. However, the assistance provided by the Bundeskartellamt was not sufficient to overcome Hoechst AG's refusal and to permit the Commission's inspectors to carry out an investigation. Hoechst AG even obtained an interim order from a local administrative tribunal barring the Bundeskartellamt from proceeding with its assistance to the Commission. In the absence of the necessary assistance by the national authorities it is necessary to use the remaining measures directly available to the Commission in order to compel Hoechst AG to submit to the investigation. The Commission considers this case to be of the utmost importance and is determined to take every step which it deems necessary to overcome this attempt to frustrate the application of its lawfully adopted decisions. Apart from the decision to impose periodic penalty payments on Hoechst AG the Commission is preparing a separate proceeding with a view to impose a fine on that company for refusing to submit to the investigation ordered by Commission decision. The failure by the German authorities to provide the necessary assistance to the Commission has lead the Commission to initiate separate proceedings against the Federal Republic of Germany forinfringement of the Treaty.