The Competition Authority is responsible for applying competition rules in Portugal, in line with the market economy and free competition principles, bearing in mind the effective functioning of the markets, for ensuring a high level of technological progress and, in particular, for pursuing the maximum benefit for consumers.
Market competition is regulated by a series of laws , which can be viewed on the Competition Authority’s website.
Fair competition between businesses is one of the guiding principles of business activity in the EU. Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) have been introduced to ensure that this principle is applied, particularly in terms of anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard measures.
The Business Gateway explains these instruments.
Abuse of dominant position
A dominant position is defined as the power that a business has and that enables it to act independently of its competitors, suppliers and customers in defining its business strategy. It means that, when taking trade policy decisions, the business has such a significant market position that it does not have to worry about the reaction of other economic operators.
Abuse of dominant position means the misuse by a business of its market power, resulting in the exclusion of competitors from the market by the creation of artificial barriers to their entry (for example, refusing access to an essential infrastructure) or a significant and artificial rise in costs for rivals (for example, through discrimination or contractual conditions that are difficult to meet), or even practices that impose excessive prices.
Strict provisions govern mergers .
Other types of unfair competition
Some unfair competition practices are listed on the website of the National Industrial Property Institute (INPI). The INPI is responsible for imposing fines, while the Food Safety and Business Inspection Authority (ASAE) is responsible for investigating cases.
Fair competition policy also covers the fight against counterfeiting.
The Advertising Code prohibits all advertising that, in any way, including its presentation, and due to its misleading nature, causes or may cause the target audience to make a mistake, regardless of whether they suffer any financial harm, or that could disadvantage a competitor.
National competition authorities
The Competition Authority ensures that the competition rules are correctly applied. Its work also includes monitoring business strategies, combating restrictive and abusive practices, and identifying market sectors where competition is restricted.
Strict provisions govern company mergers
Notification of mergers
The form to be used for notifying mergers, under the Competition Law, must be submitted to the Competition Authority on-line, through the Electronic Merger Notification System (SNEOC).
However, notification by e-mail does not replace submission of a paper copy of the form, which must be submitted to the Competition Authority within three days of the electronic submission. This protects the legitimate interests of the various participants (notifiers and interested third parties).
The Competition Authority’s Regulation on the Form for the Notification of Mergers is available in .doc format.
It is possible to submit complaints on-line to the Competition Authority, by using an interactive form that is based on an expert system for processing the information submitted. This system uses the rules of the Competition Law, which are explained in basic steps though interactive help. This enables the user to more easily determine whether or not their case involves a competition issue.
The website of the Competition Authority allows consumers to access the contact details of various sectoral regulators, who can be asked to investigate abuses or infringements by businesses providing services or supplying goods on the Portuguese market.
In addition, the Consumer Gateway can be used to submit a complaint on-line against any business operating within the Portuguese territory. To do this, you simply need to correctly complete the form and submit it. The On-Line Common Information System (RTIC) also allows the status of a complaint submitted through the Complaints Register to be viewed.
The National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) also provides businesses with information on a range of options designed to protect them against the infringement of intellectual property rights. These options include patents, trade marks and products with official symbols, concession of licences, product distribution chains, safety, and development of products that are difficult to forge.
The INPI website provides documents on counterfeiting, as well as advice on damage suffered by businesses, consumers and governments.
The website of the Directorate-General for Economic Activities (DGAE) contains a report on trade defence instruments in the EU. This report lists the main sectors subject to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures. Those sectors of direct interest to Portugal are: textiles, footwear, cable and rope, bicycles, chemicals, and iron and steel products.