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Estonia

Competing fairly

Updated 10/2012

Legal requirements

The Competition Act aims to avoid competition being obstructed, restricted or harmed and it protects the regulation of competition in manufacturing and service provision. The Competition Act may be applied to activity restricting competition , which originates outside Estonia, but affects competition within Estonia.

Rules on competition

The purpose of the rules on competition is to avoid:

  • publishing or attempting to publish misleading or defamatory information on competitors or their products;
  • misuse of confidential information;
  • exploiting a competitor's employee or representative.

Agreements

With the objective or effect on the restriction of competition, the following agreements, concerted actions , and company association decisions are prohibited, including:

  • directly or indirectly fixing prices or any other trading conditions, including prices of goods, tariffs, fees, mark-ups, discounts, rebates, basic fees, premiums, additional fees, interest rates, rent or lease payments applicable to third parties;
  • limiting production, service, goods markets, technical development, or investment;
  • share goods markets or sources of supply, including restriction of access by a third party to a goods market or any attempt to exclude the party from the market;
  • exchange information which restricts competition;
  • agree on the application of dissimilar conditions to equivalent agreements, thereby placing other trading parties at a competitive disadvantage;
  • enter into an agreement subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which have no connection with the subject of such agreement.

Abuse of dominant position

Any direct or indirect abuse by an undertaking or several undertakings of the dominant position in the goods market is prohibited, including:

  • directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions;
  • limiting production, service, goods markets, technical development, or investment;
  • offering or applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent agreements with other trading parties, thereby placing some of them at a competitive disadvantage;
  • entering into an agreement subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which have no connection with the subject of such agreement;
  • forcing an undertaking to concentrate, enter into an agreement which restricts competition, engage in concerted practices or adopt a decision together with the undertaking or another undertaking;
  • unjustified refusal to sell or buy goods.

Other types of unfair competition

Unfair competition is unfair business activity, acts contrary to good morals and customs, including:

  • publication, submission for publication or ordering misleading information, libelling a competitor or its goods;
  • misuse of confidential information, exploiting a competitor's employee or representative.

Consumer protection

The section aimed at business owners contains suggestions and regulations developed by the Consumer Protection Board in order to ensure better consumer service in different areas.

National competition authorities

Competition Board:

  • monitors the implementation of the Competition Act;
  • regulates competition in Estonia;
  • makes proposals for enhancing competition;
  • gives advice for strengthening competition;
  • makes recommendations for the adoption or amendment of legal acts;
  • cooperates with institutions that supervise competition in other countries as well as national associations.

Strict provisions govern company mergers

Administrative procedures

Merger notification

The Competition Board controls a concentration (merger) if, during the previous financial year, the aggregate turnover in Estonia of the parties to the concentration exceeded EUR 6,391,200 and the aggregate turnover in Estonia of each of at least two parties to the concentration exceeded for them both EUR 1,917,350. Such concentration shall be reported to the Competition Board before and after the concentration comes into force:

  • entry into a merger agreement or performance of a transaction or other act for acquisition of parts of the undertaking;
  • performance of a transaction or other act for acquisition of control;
  • performance of a transaction or other act for acquisition of joint control;
  • announcement of a public bid for securities.

A notice of concentration shall be submitted to the Competition Board in writing and the information included in it shall be set out in the Competition Act.

Litigation

Unfair competition or its absence shall be determined in the litigation of the parties pursuant to civil procedure.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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