Finland's national competition policy is based on the Competition Act. This act allows Finnish authorities to intervene in cases where competition is being hampered.
The mission of the Finnish Competition Authority is to safeguard healthy, active economic competition and to increase the efficiency of the economy, both in private and in public trade. The Authority operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (TEM).
The objective of competition policy is for markets to operate efficiently and for businesses to compete. In implementing competition policy, the benefits to consumers in particular are taken into account, and freedom to trade is also safeguarded.
The Market Court Act supplements the Act on Competition Restrictions.
Horizontal competition restrictions means agreements and procedures between players in the production and distribution channels, or between competing traders, that restrict competition between companies.
Such agreements between traders, decisions to merge traders and standardised procedures by traders, the aim of which is clearly to prevent, restrict or distort competition or which lead to competition clearly being prevented, restricted or distorted, are prohibited under Section 5 of the Competition Act.
Abuse of dominant position
Abuse of a dominant market position is prohibited, both under Section 7 of the Competition Act and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The provisions mentioned have uniform content and are interpreted in the same way, so that from the perspective of traders there is no difference which regulation is applied.
Other types of unfair competition
Vertical agreements are different agreements between players in the production and distribution channels, which relate to the purchase and sale of certain goods or services. Typical vertical agreements include distribution agreements between manufacturers and wholesalers or retailers.
There may be a competition restriction if the agreement contains restrictions on the supplier or buyer. Vertical restrictions may be divided into four groups: defining a trademark, restricting distribution, setting the retail price and division of markets.
In addition to the competition restrictions achieved by companies, market activity may also be restricted by different Acts, Decrees, official regulations or the activities of the authorities.
Consumer Agency Ombudsman aims at enhancing functionality of the consumer market. Its website offers information, for example, on marketing, price labelling and product safety and contractual terms.
National competition authorities
The Competition Policy Group, within the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, is responsible for preparing competition law and, where necessary, for setting an official stance.
The Finnish Competition Authority monitors competition and handles individual infringement cases.
Strict provisions govern company mergers
A company may appeal under the Competition Act in order to gain protection from prohibited competition restrictions applied by its trading partners.
Consumer Agency Ombudsman's website provides an info bank for companies operating in the consumer market. This enables companies to ensure the legality of their operations, as well as develop their activities, while ensuring the customer's trust. The Consumer Agency Ombudsman may be contacted in consumer trade and marketing related issues, and the National Consumer Agency should be contacted in possible disputes between companies and consumers.
Enterprise Finland has information about consumer protection in online trading.