The rules that apply to practices which affect competition in the Romanian market are laid down by the Competition Law. This has been amended and supplemented to comply with the acquis communautaire.
At present, Romanian companies are obliged to abide by EU competition laws, including antitrust legislation. Therefore, anyone who attempts to distort the market deliberately risks severe punishment.
Abuse of dominant position
Article 6 of the Competition Law prohibits the abuse of dominant position by one or more companies in the Romanian market. The Consiliul Concurenţei (Competition Council) monitors companies in a dominant position and applies sanctions if companies abuse their position.
Strict provisions govern company mergers.
Other types of unfair competition
The Law on combating unfair competition defines the main acts of unfair competition that constitute contraventions and criminal offences, such as:
- using a firm, invention, trademark or logo that could be mistaken for those that are legally used by other businesses;
- selling counterfeit goods that could mislead consumers with regard to the quality of the product;
- the obtaining, disclosure or use of commercial secrets by third parties as a result of commercial or industrial espionage.
State aid procedures are governed by the Emergency Ordinance on national procedures for state aid.
The Law on combating improper practices of traders in their relations with consumers and harmonisation of regulations with European legislation on consumer protection stipulate two types of improper commercial practices:
- Misleading commercial practices
- Aggressive commercial practices
The Autoritatea Națională pentru Protecția Consumatorilor, ANPC (National Authority for Consumer Protection) protects consumers against improper commercial practices and promotes good commercial practices.
National competition authorities
In Romania, the Competition Council protects and promotes competition to foster a healthy competitive environment.
It has a dual role:
- one of prevention, by monitoring and supervising the market and economic operators;
- one of correction, by applying sanctions in order to re-establish a normal competitive environment.
If a company is involved in an illegal cartel, by cooperating with the Competition Council it may benefit from a reduction of its punishment or immunity. Companies that do not cooperate with the Competition Council risk fines of up to 10% of their gross profits for the previous year.
Strict provisions govern company mergers
Mergers that exceed the threshold values stipulated by the Competition Law must be reported to and analysed by the Competition Council for authorisation purposes. Notification must be sent by each of the parties involved.
Following notification, the Competition Council will investigate whether the merger would create a dominant position in the respective market.
The deadlines and conduct of the notification process are stipulated in the Regulation regarding the authorisation of economic concentrations.
State aid notification
State aid notifications are sent to the Competition Council. Notification forms are available online, on the Competition Council's website.
Companies affected by an anti-competitive practice may notify the Competition Council by filing a complaint. If the complaint is legally well-founded, the Competition Council will order an investigation.
The complaint must be submitted in writing and contain the information stipulated in the complaint form available on the Competition Council's website.